Food for Thought

pepper plant

Photo by greenwordchef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– As in the ‘Food for Thought’ Lecture Series theme at UW-Whitewater.  Though the lecture series was in the spring, all of the lectures are saved as videos for viewing at any time.

From the description: “Do we eat simply for sustenance or is there more to think about this everyday activity? Food fills our bellies, brings families and cultures together and is the center of many traditions which remind us of our shared past. Food also is a source of power and struggle. The way our food is grown, manufactured and marketed can be controversial. What do we need to know about the food choices we make?”

Start Thinking about Food!

Guerilla Gardening, or “Plant some sh!t”! -Ron Finley

I enjoy this video clip for a number of reasons- first, because I love gardening, of course…  Ron Finley makes some wonderful statistics-backed points about what can be done with vacant and underutilized land to help fight the food desert phenomenon.   I won’t spoil the video for you, but he speaks about the prevalence of vacant lots and even how yards can be utilized for greater benefit.  Ron, however, had a similar problem as others have had when attempting to garden outside of the (planter) box.  Now, I semi-understand why there is the push to keep grassy, standardized lawns so that properties look pleasant, but I find it much easier to sympathize with the gardeners when the clearly conspicuous gardens are 1) more useful for food purposes and 2) well-kept.  All of the examples I have ever seen in the news for similar reasons have been gardens that were well cared for.  Just imagine how much food we could produce if lawns in the cities were converted.  Regardless of climate, quite a bit more food could be locally (and cheaply!) produced via fruit trees and plants and other vegetable plants.  I try to garden with a little extra space and in a few extra pots, but ideally, I would like a larger garden.  This is not to say that urban gardening is not without a few concerns, such as the quality of the soil.  However, the larger point in this whole narrative is that if each of us was able to plant even a bit more food locally, it could have quite a few positive ripple effects.  “Plant some sh!t!”

Popped…

Pop Deluxe Logo

Sadness.  It’s not an April fool- Pop Deluxe (a favorite store of mine on State Street in Madison, and in the links below at the right) is closing its retail location.  Pop Deluxe, if you haven’t heard of it, is a wonderfully quirky, unique, and whimsical store that had an ever-changing array of miscellany…  Now, the news isn’t all bad, since the website will still be up.  Whether it was snazzy kitchen gadgets or tastily diverse cookbooks or serene plant accessories, they always had something fun.  Future State Street trips won’t be the same…

Now, where else can I get my art-o-mat fix…?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Irish clover

Irish Clover Image by George McFinnigan

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all!  Whether you are Irish or not or Irish by affiliation (mine is through my wife’s side of the family), be sure to celebrate with good food and beverage.  Learn the history of the day, get some ideas for green food, make green eggs and ham with Chef Fabio, or make a classic, like corned beef and cabbage with your slow cooker.  Or have corned beef and cabbage made with Guinness® with a glass of Guinness® and enjoy the river dyed green!

The Keys to Eating in Key West

Mr. Z's Logo

Mr. Z’s Logo

Well, I’m back to the frigid northlands… I mean… Midwest… after a much appreciated surprise trip to Key West from my wife to celebrate my birthday.  It took me a little bit to get accustomed to signs showing ‘January’ being in mental juxtaposition with the warm weather.  It was my first visit to Florida, and I truly enjoyed it.   We hope to return to catch even more of the things we missed.  It was a long weekend trip, and we visited several museums and, of course, had to visit Duval Street.  I’ll be posting some food highlights of the trip, in the event they may be useful in your travels.

First up was Mr. Z’s: a restaurant that offers cheesesteaks, pizza, and stromboli.  We were wandering Duval Street and trying to decide what we were hungry for.  We ran across Mr. Z’s, partly due to the enticing aroma that reached us on the sidewalk through the open window screens.  It’s not a very large place, with a main counter and some seating on stools along the wall.  This might make it easy to overlook amid all the food options available, but it was certainly worth our time and easily handled our hunger.  I ordered the sausage and (sweet) peppers sandwich for a very reasonable $7, with an extra $1 for fried onions and cheese.  It’s a sandwich that I will get hungry for from time to time, and this one did not disappoint.  Coupled with a tasty red sauce, it was flavorful and satisfying.

My wife ordered a small veggie and four cheese stromboli, and they are not kidding when they say it will serve two people- my wife had leftovers.  Again, it was a very reasonable price – $10.  She let me try some, and it was prepared well.  There was a good mix of vegetables complemented with the perfect ratio of cheese to the vegetable ingredients.  The crispy crust held all the ingredients together well, also.  They do advise it takes a while to cook, but it didn’t take too long to get our meals.  I would certainly recommend Mr. Z’s in Key West if you’re looking to satisfy a craving or get a delicious meal for a reasonable price- just make sure not to miss it!