you don"t need to save the crystal for a special day, even water tastes better in a "Fancy Glass"

Thursday, August 30, 2007

why it is a big deal....

in just over 15 years! click on the map to see a bigger version. in 1991 no state was over 20% must were 15% or less- now no state is under 15% and some are as high as 30- In just under 15 years.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

obesity reports are out

I wrote a short post over on Daily Kos today about the new Obesity report that is out. In no state in the USA are the percetages lower... we are getting more and more unhealthy and overweight.

I have been having a good discussion with a friend who wonders if this is a political issue at all... I went on quite a soapbox of why this is an urgent political issue. Please check out my kos post- and poll.... and read my email soap box below...

Why is Obesity a political issue? I see it as political, because like most of our problems in the states these days, unchecked corp. interest is a large culprit. Subsidized big ag, grows 200% more corn and soy than we can use, so that gets pumped into processed food, animal feed, and high fructose corn syrup. Which keeps our food costs low, but our heath care costs high.

i see it as a political issue because we do not cover heath care or promote prevention education and information, and then we do not cover health care once people are sick, and this is largely related to diet in the usa.

food stamps until recently were not reimbursed if accepted by local farmers markets. that was a political issue

Big ag is also given all sorts of environmental leeway from the government, make it easier to grow food even if pesticides are bad for us, and we are polluting the environment. use GM even at the expense of knowing the long range effects. did you know that they suspect that gm corn is killing all the bees, which will have a huge impact on pollinating crops?

we grow and create an average of 3500 calories of food per day per person in the states. even children, and the corp. structure is set up to encourage people to consume that- via advertising, school lunch programs etc. etc. even though it is at least 1000 calaroies more than a adult needs.

Food business actively participates in disinformation campaigns. And there is no labeling or advertising oversite.

we finally stopped cigarette companies from using cartoon characters to advertise using cartoons but even though diebetes is on the rise in kids we target a lot of our processed food marketing to Kids

the list goes on and on, and it will require legislation and people powered political movements to get the word out.

Also the FARM bill is a huge part of this effort and that is certainly political. It sets up a system of food production that favors big ag, food processors, and trucking food all over the country and makes it harder to stay in business if you are a local small farmer.

anyway. all of life has some political connection, but this certainly seems like a huge political issue to me. You said it is an economic, poverty and health issue, but since all of those should be political issues, then food would be as well.

just my thoughts on it. I think by saying it is not a political issue we give our legislators a pass on concerning themselves with laws and systems that would make our food nutrious, affordable, and sustainable.

Just like our fuel consumption is Not sustainable, our current food production processes cannot be sustained into the future. we are killing our land, water supply, using fuel and killing ourselves.

last estimates were tha 33% of green house gas emissions in the usa are related to agriculture, food processes and food transportation.

I think of it less as reaching out to people to say be involved in this Politics issue- and more recognizing that if we don't get our government to change some key pieces of legislation there is no end in site.

even if people ate smarter, getting access to good food, and getting big ag to do the right thing would require a change in laws. Remember they are also growing and shipping gm, and big ag food, and processed food all over the world, esp. to developing countries.

thanks for asking. as you can see I have too much to spout off on with all of this...
There is so much to say and do around this issue, and my hope is to be someone who can really engage people in a discussion of how we really are what we eat...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

birthday treasures

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and at last part 3. So we wound up my birthday day eating at Bourbon Street. a little tiny restaurant in the heart of tokyo. 16 seats with a totally hands on owner/chef - that serves great Cajun food. So since it was my birthday I went all out, fried fried baked... and a bottle of very nice wine.

we started with the appetizer of chunks of buttermilk fried chicken with homemade honey mustard sauce. then I had MORE fried food- fried catfish, potato salad, and tarter sauce. Wound up with an apple crumble pie with tiny baby poached pears and icecream. the bottom corner shop is the small street near my train station at dusk. it was a lovely day spent with my husband... and it was very relaxing.

I did get some fantastic email birthday greetings on my facebook and in my inbox. My fav. was one from a friend in France- who took a picture of herself holding a sign that said Happy Birthday Lauren- Not sure what it was about that one but it really got to me.

Oh and bought myself some other prezzies at The Midtown Dean and Deluca. Port wine, and Kalamata olives that are going to play a big role in an evening sometime later this year.

well- my 30's were pretty fun. Crazy to think I spent all of that decade in japan!!! totally shocking to me somehow. I was 29 when I got here... sheesh.
I am curious what my 40's will bring.
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Saturday, August 25, 2007

BIG 4-oh part 2

Lunch... (since it is me, and my birthday- you can be sure that most of the day is about food food food. ) was yummy.

- we went back to The Globe.

The globe is special for lots of reasons, but most important to me is the that the globe is not like any other spot in tokyo. Spending a couple hours there is like going to some other world. Basically the globe is a cafe, antique store, and garden. It is in an old factory style building and it is filled with gorgeous old wooden furniture, a cozy cafe and lots of fun odds and ends. AND they have good scones and serve their lattes in a BOWL! - I really like bowl-lattes- inordinately so.

In the collage above, the bottom shots are my meal and dessert, the top are my husband's. I am sure that I ordered better- though his did look tasty.

I had an apple, parama ham, brie sandwich with delicious seasonal cold tomato soup, and for dessert the aforementioned bowl of latte with a rum raisin scone. YUM.

it was a perfect afternoon. TokyoTerri, Hubby and I- rode our bikes to the globe. feasted and talked (terri had to go first to be her normal podcast-maven self) hubby and I took a leisurely ride back toward nakameguro with a stop at a nice little wine store (just browsing) and then we decided to got to Tower Books and Records (the same company as in the states and the uk) We bought some great fun music... and I had a magazine fix.

John Butler Trio

Some Fat Boy Slim

Tommy Guerra
and on youtube.

and Jazztronic in the House

all good stuff.

then we went home to relax, and get dressed for dinner. (more about that in part 3)
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turning 40, part 1

Ok it is true. I am still a kid. only child, never had kids myself, never really grew up I guess. so I am totally shocked to know that my 30's are gone. YUP here I am - as of today 40 years old. WOW- time flys. and all those other cliches. Anyway- I am an august baby, so summer is the theme of all my birthdays- we used to plan pool parties, picnics and summer sleep-overs when I was a kid (thanks Mom)

Now, since I am not grown up- I have never gotten over expecting my birthdays to be a biggish deal. At least I must be, for that day, the absolute center of attention. "Selfish" you say... To that I answer- hey it is one day a year... so I am ok with that.

So today, after torturing our friend ceabird a few days ago- I got something I really wanted for my birthday morning! I started my day with Krispy Kreme Donuts! and Tea! of course. YUM - the thing about Krispy Kreme here in Japan- is there is only one in Tokyo that we can get to- in Shinjuku and it always requires waiting in line- So it was kind of a big deal that he went there, waited for donuts, and then handed them off to my hubby at the trainstation! (ceabird did all this on his way to a weekly soccer game) THANKS! Ceabird!

So with Donuts as the start of the day- my 40th- though lower key than I imagined it would be- was a nice chilled out, lovely sugar filled day. More on all things me later. cause now I am getting gussied up to go to dinner at a very tasty tiny restaurant in Tokyo- called Bourbon St.

more on all things- me in my follow up birthday posts.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

my book in the wild

Ok, on a totally non food and beverage topic... This year I wrote a book, that was translated into Japanese, kind of a fun Insider's guide to Harry Potter. It was released in Japan on Aug. 1st. And the bookstores have it on the shelf now!

so my publisher's staff went on a bit of a book safari and got these shots of my little tome (the orange covered one) out in the wild. YEA!

two very nice placements. The first shot is from the store BOOK 1st in Shibuya and the second is from JUNKUDO, Shinjuku.


Oh, and you can purchase it online at the Eigotown Store. assuming you read Japanese.

YEAH- good news of the day/ Farmers Markets Grow More Popular

I posted another food-politics diary on DailyKos today. I am trying to bring my food life and my political life in line with each other, and trying to bring some friends a long the way.

But the good news of the day was this small story in the Main Stream Media (MSM)

"Farmer's Markets Grow More Popular."

The number of farmers markets has gone up nearly 150 percent since 1994, likely due to America's recent focus on a healthier diet including more fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmers markets are an ideal place for consumers in their search for organic and locally-grown foods. Food shoppers also like the idea of knowing exactly where their fruits and vegetables came from., and owners of farmers markets say the movement is putting a human face on the American agriculture industry.

My next read is "Coming Home To Eat" which is in the vein of the Kingsolver book I just finished. More on that, and some possible food-politics podcasting soon.

Monday, August 20, 2007

today's food-fact from the Food Lover's Companion

So- it occurs to me that a way to connect my self and others to the food we eat and the choices we have is to keep learning more. more about;

food history
cooking and taste
and the political ramifications of all of the above
(plus learning stuff is fun)

so in that vein I have this little handy book called The New Food Lover's Companion- put out by Barrons. It boasts 6000+ entries on food, drink and culinary terms. And at 16.95 seems to be a real bargain. I want to explore and feature stuff I learn while browsing this little book. And see if I can find the same kinds of connections in the world of food history and modern politics that folks like James Burke have found in technology and science.

so today is all about Hyssop.

I chose this one, cause last night, I had a splurge and split a piece of hula pie with my husband. Kind of an ice cream cake deal. It was at a little hawaiian themed restaurant in our neighborhood. And on the top of the pie was a nice green leafy aromatic piece of Mint. Mint is something I usually take for granted but it is a great finishing garnish for my desserts AND it makes the lovely mojito possible. So today we are going to find out about HYSSOP.

according to the New Food Lover's Companion

Hyssop (HIHS-UP) is any of various herbs belonging to the mint family with aromatic dark green leaves that have a slightly bitter minty flavor. Hyssop adds intrigue to salads, fruit dishes, (it is particularly complementary to cranberries) soups, and stews. It is also used to flaovor certain liqueurs such as Chartreuse.

The all-mighty Wikipedia has more on Hyssop.

and the word origin comes down directly from the Greek who is seemed had an 's' on the end but otherwise were talking about the same thing. You can grow your own by visiting and purchasing from Diane.

and if you want to cook and use your Hyssop- head over here or here.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

big-business food is doing our work for us

big biz food is a big part of the problem. the problem of health issues, obesity, type II diabetes, polution, climate change, etc. etc. etc. But lucky for us the greedy practices of the big food biz are going to help us expose the problem and turn people back to local sustainable food providers and trusted small business.

in the newest twist to the ongoing tale of greedy big processed food companies, Ishiya Confection company out of Hokkaido intentionally used past date, unsafe milk to make it's pastries. read the whole tale here.

A Sapporo-based confectionary company has joined the list of food manufacturers accused of unethical practices, by falsifying expiration dates on its main product and shipping other products contaminated with colon bacilli or staphylococci, both of which can cause food poisoning.

Ishiya Trading Co. has not only deepened consumer distrust of food manufacturers but also tarnished the wholesome image of food products from Hokkaido.
If the big companies keep caring only about making more and more and more money... then it will become easier to expose them for what they are. good news for us. as long as we don't all get sick along the way.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

bye bye toshi dinner

It was a pretty good week for food. Though I caught a summer cold I had a busy week this week. One of the highlights was Wednesday night. One of the managers who works with me in Fujimamas is leaving to go on to new experieneces in the USA. His name is Toshi and he has been absolutely great to work with the last 5 years! So in honor of Toshi's last week I wanted to take him out to dinner. We decided to go back to Kinsai. Toshi is not a complete vegetarian but close to it, so I knew that Kinsai- which after all means " Golden Vegetables" was going to be a good fresh tasty place to take him.

It was just as good as the first time we went. And this time it was nice because since Toshi could read the menu much better than we could, we got to try lots of new things. Photos above are just a few of the many dishes we ordered

from bottom right- clockwise.
Cold Potato soup- amuse bouche
Fried Burdock Root with a home made sesame salt
A delightful tofu and veg broth dish in a goregous bowl that I nearly knocked over!
and a big ole plate of Sashimi.

we also had other vege dishes, some noodles, 2 other kinds of tofu, and lots of sake.
There were 4 of us all together and we had plenty to eat- for about 4500 yen each including drinks. (about 40$)

I liked our seats at the counter a bit better (when chris and I went before) But this remains one of my new favorite spots.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I was missing my dog today

and this made me laugh

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Post Fujirock

well. the summer is in full swing. Some of it was not as I had hoped, but generally things are going well. this photo is from our experience at FUJIROCK. the booth was set up great, the food was very good and my team worked their butts off. But this was a first year and the organizers of the festival did NOT give us a good number estimate to start from, so overall it was a bit dissappointing.

Our micro brew beers and Loco Moco were a real hit however! and Lots of folks came back and told us how happy they were that we were there. Living and Learning...
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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

breakfast in chicago

During my recent trip to Chicago we had breakfast in the oldest Swedish Diner in the city. Ann Sather's
It was quite a breakfast... if you order any of their specials you get 2 homemade cinnamon rolls! 2!!! and they are huge!

I got a swedish sampler plate which included swedish pancakes with loganberries swedish sausage and meatballs, one egg, and fried potatoes! YUM. It was a fun and friendly place, got quite busy. and the staff was so kind. There are three Ann Sather locations in Chicago, we chowed down at the belmont ave location near to wrigley field.

Portions are huge. Food is homey. lots of fun.
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food and politics

Food, what we eat, where it comes from, and what that means for the planet is at the core of our being and is very political even if folks don't realize it. There are tons of great books out there to introduce you to some of the major issues, major tragedies and major positive solutions out there.

Right now I am reading ANIMAL VEGETABLE MIRACLE by Barbara Kingsolver. It is so far fantastic.

I also want to introduce you to a movement and website called Eating Liberally, part of the living liberally network. These folks are great, and I intend to get more involved with them.