Archive for the 'Food' Category

Locavore Me

Coming up on Sunday July 27, 2008 at John R. Park Homestead is a new (hopefully annual) event called the Lakeside Locavore Lunch. From the Essex Region Conservation Authority calendar:

The Lakeside Locavore Lunch is a new special event taking place at the John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area on Sunday, July 27th from noon – 2:30pm. This event highlights ‘locavore’ opportunities in Essex County.

Enjoy an afternoon by the lake tasting locally grown foods and fine wines. ‘Food for thought’ will also be provided as local farmers and food producers share their specific knowledge about the delicious bounty that our region offers.

To enhance the experience ‘Fiddle and Friends’ will be providing traditional celtic and folk fiddle music. Admission is $15.00 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-16. Preregistration is required and spaces are limited.

To register phone: 519-738-2029 or email: jrph@erca.org.

I’d like to go but it crosses over with a family reunion obligation. If I can figure out a way to do both you can be sure I’ll be there. I’m surprised I haven’t seen any promotion for the event (I found the ERCA calendar when I was looking for information about local trees which I eventually found at the Ojibway Park website).

ecofeminist Vandana Shiva speaking with mega phone

In my opinion, it’s an important event for local feminists. Women’s oppression is closely linked with the degradation of nature. Both have suffered under a system of patriarchy. The world around us — nature — just like women, is not passive, waiting for rescue or waiting idly to be made useful. We are both contributing, functional, important, integral parts of the planet. Neither women nor the planet are here to serve. It’s ironic when you start thinking about the connections in the English language between words we use to describe both land and women: think of terms like barren, fertile, and rape. Each can describe a woman or the land. Ecofeminists bring the philosophies of environmentalism and feminism together in efforts to liberate both from oppression. Maybe someday. Respect for nature, respect for women.

photo credit to leenback. Click on the photo to visit its page on flickr.com.

How to Procrastinate

When did a B become a bad mark? (omg I hope I don’t get a B on my assignment.) It seems this is what happens moving up into graduate studies. Everyone is stressing over grades. Nothing below an A is good enough and a B is required to pass a course. I hate having that kind of pressure. I did well in my undergrad but even though I stressed over my grades I don’t remember this kind of dread. In my undergrad I wanted high marks but I didn’t need them in the same way I do now. Knowing that good work is a fail and that very good is barely a pass I am paralyzed for fear that my work will be mediocre – or worse — adequate.

There’s been some weird power flickers here today and my desktop keeps shutting down. If it wasn’t happening to the clocks on that side of the house as well as to Rob’s desktop I might wonder if my power supply has finally given up. Since the machine is off anyway I’ve decided I should let things cool down and take this opportunity to replace that power supply. I bought my new one – a 430W Seasonic – at Canada Computers when I was in Toronto last weekend for Mitch’s birthday shindig. The visit with K & Mitch was wonderful, the staff at the computer shop helpful, the curried vegetables at King’s Cafe were amazing but the stress from almost missing the train home because I miscalculated how long the Spadina street car would take to get to Union Station…gulp…that I could have done without.

So anyway, can you tell when blogger-students have papers due? There’s always a flurry of posts. Instead of writing the assignment, we blog. Or maybe blogging is the warm up? To prove to ourselves that we can still put words together and we may as well write the ones our professors want to read instead of the ones that make our significant others/friends/families wonder if we’re/they’re really going to survive our education.

Taloola Cafe: Best Coffeehouse in Windsor

I’ve been meaning to go for months but it never worked out until today. This morning I went there for tea with my friend Lisa. I also had a “texture” cookie, all full of raisins, seeds, apple and yummy goodness and the desserts are vegan (even the choco-chip cookies — only place in Windsor with a variety for vegans as far as I know).

The place is really special: you choose your own teacup from a beautiful shelf full of one-of-a-kind cups, the walls are covered with gorgeous cloths and artwork. You choose your tea from a book full of samples where each page has a description and sample of the dry tea ingredients. They are also licensed and serve espresso and sandwiches. The neighbourhood is calm and there’s an outdoor patio area. Tomorrow I want to go back for the live performance by local artist Ron Leary.

What a treasure — I just wish I’d made it there sooner.

Where to find them:
Taloola Cafe
396 Devonshire Road,
Windsor, ON N8Y 2L4
519-254-6652

Why I Drink Ontario Wine

I live in Ontario. As much as I am able to choose, I drink Ontario wine, made from grapes grown in Ontario.

I live about an hour north of Pelee Island. I live about three hours south-west of the Niagara Escarpment. Between these two regions there are many wines to choose from. I’m lucky about this. If I lived somewhere else I might not have this many choices.

I make this choice because I don’t want to contribute to the consumption of fossil fuels by drinking wine that’s traveled great distances. I also don’t want to drink wine that contains grapes from far away places. Not only does this contribute to the environmental problem, but it also is a contributing factor in homogenizing the world’s wine. If Ontario wine contains grapes from Italy, then the difference between Ontario and Italian wine blurs. Vintners become transnational companies and diversity of flavours disappears. Grape growers in Ontario have established the VQA designation to make this easier for me: only Ontario

When I was in British Columbia for Northern Voice I had great BC wine, and when I travel other places someday I will try their regional wine.

Small choices do make a difference.

Grocery Musings

A few things I’ve noticed about grocery stores, groceries, and grocery shopping:

  • During the day on a weekday, the grocery store is filled with women with babies and old people. Even in this factory town where a large number of people are shiftworkers there are few men, fewer men with children, and very very few families. Not the most statistical of surveys but it’s been my observation. This is partly why I like to do my errands during the day when possible — the lines are short, the store mostly empty (compared to evenings and weekends), and people are mostly in a casual mood. Yes I’m lucky I can still negotiate my schedule this way.
  • The plastic shopping bags they’re giving out at Zehrs these days have (what I’m certain is) a strategic hole in the bottom. It’s in the same place in every bag and (conspiracy theory) they’re intentionally making these bags defective so that people have to purchase bags for their garbage cans and cat litter. Mostly I use reusable bags and bins but I do need a handful of disposables each week for my son who cleans the cat litter. It’s taking twice as many bags now to do the work of one, just so we don’t stream litter across the house.
  • The stores cannot decide where to stock the organic produce and other products. Some stores have a separate section so you can skip the huge store and just go for the gold. Other stores have the organics spread throughout so that you have to hunt each shelf — and so you can’t skip anything. I prefer keeping it all central because it speeds things up for me.
  • Vegetable does not necessarily mean vegetarian. I’m always surprised at the fish sauce, anchovy extract, etc in vegetable meals. sigh I’m so tired of reading labels.
  • It was only last year that the local Zehrs got self-serve checkouts. I first used these in 1993 in Nova Scotia in a grocery store. Go figure it took until 2006 to get them to Ontario.
  • The grocery bins that the store sells as an alternative to bagging your groceries do not fit on the self serve checkout stands.
  • The Zehrs in South Windsor does not offer paper bags, claiming that Zehrs did a study and found that the paper bags break down at the same rate as plastic. Seems awfully strange then that the stores on Dougall, in Lasalle and in St. Clair Beach all still offer paper bags.

Got any more observations?

Poverty Diet

Best diet I’ve ever heard of. It worked well, steady weight loss over time, kept it off well too. The secret? Not having enough money to buy food. Pay the shelter bills first – hopefully you’ve enough for those. Next: feed the kids – peanut butter, pasta, tomato sauce, and dried beans from the food bank. The parenting centre would let me scan their shelves for foods my kids liked. Other places I’d be handed a pre-packed brown bag. Grow a garden for vegetables. In the winter grow sprouts.

No food = no eating = get skinny. No exercise required, though since I didn’t have a car or bus money walking everywhere probably speeded up the process.

This method worked for me and my friend, another single mom. Of course there are side effects: no energy, depression, and hopelessness. And clothes get droopy. But isn’t it worth it to be thin?

Ahhhh those were the days.

No amount of capsaicin

No amount of capsaicin will kill this cold. At this point, officially Day 3, I’ve lost my appetite anyway though if someone wanted to make me a bowl of spicy lentil soup I would give eating it my best effort. I’ve drained a bottle of hot sauce and it doesn’t seem to have done a thing.

This happens every end of semester it seems. I think I’ve even written that before. I’m fairly certain that this time it isn’t stress but because I froze riding my bike home on Monday but maybe I was actually sick before that since I remember being freezing while studying at the U and not even taking off my coat while I was there.

I had to skip volunteering in my daughter’s class today. Last thing I figure the kids in her class would want is to spend their 2-week holiday sick like me. Rather than go in and spread my germs there I decided to put together her new loft bed. That went alright since it came on the heels of a hot shower with eucalyptus soap. Gee it felt nice to breathe. Unfortunately there was a lot of dust and it’s done me in. I’m planning to take another gram or two of vitamin C, another dose of echincacea/goldenseal tincture and sleep for half an hour before I have to go over to the university to do a pick up. Unfortunately I was too sick last night to finish the marking or else I could have dropped those papers at the same time. Maybe I’ll try really quick to finish them now instead of sleeping…. /sigh/ workaholic.

I did have a marvelous birthday. Rob took me to dinner and we had huge amounts of roasted garlic and a very very very spicy stir fry with tofu that was so good. Buffy Season 2 episodes 1-6 were as good as I’d hoped and the cozy flannel pajamas Rob gave me must mean that I can wear flannel in front of him now. I struggle to stay warm. He says I have no blood, and I figure that must be why I like Buffy tVS so much.

Good things

I am in such a wonderfully good place right now. There are still enough days between now and due dates that I’m not yet in full freakout, and I am surrounded by the most wonderful and caring people anyone could know. It began yesterday with some sweet things my kids said, then I was surprised late at night with warm sticky rice in coconut milk topped with cashews and a glass of good wine. Today this was followed up with kids who are excited to be learning to write secret codes in binary/ascii, who laugh, joke around and tell me they love me, and finally an end of semester party with Actiongirls and the Women’s Studies Student Association. These men and women are fun, intelligent, committed to social justice, the environment, feminism, and friendship. It feels so good to be a part of the group. Thank you Carol, Aubrey, Tina, Mike, Edith, David, Allison, Catherine, and Korinne. As for the party: good food, soooo much garlic, and a great theme picked out for next semester’s art-performance-extravaganza: Cliterature! Call for submissions coming out supersoon… stay tuned.

Gelatin in Becel??

Since when is there gelatin in becel margarine? The kids like margarine on a bagel now and then – or on corn on the cob. A container lasts us a really long time so I don’t mind spending a bit more to get something with ingredients I can pronounce. I read labels today at the grocery store to try and remember why I got Becel last time and was blown away to see the ingredients have changed to now include gelatin. Gross. Horns and hooves is what that means…absolutely gross. I don’t think it should be that hard to find an all vegetable based spread but I read labels for several minutes before I found one that had no animal products in it. Even Canola Harvest which I’m sure used to be vegan now contains whey. I found some brand I’d never heard of with all veg ingredients and it claims to be dairy free. It’s also calorie-reduced which my kids don’t really need but maybe I’ll be tempted to put some on some popcorn and share with them.