The happiest farmer at the market

Farmer Jesus & cust 2

I was perusing the peppers one morning when I caught myself eavesdropping (as usual) on a conversation between a farmer and his customers at the market. I had a few clues as to what they were discussing — though they were chatting in Spanish — as he picked up the uniquely orange watermelon and handed … Continue reading

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Do GMOs have a role in the next food frontier?

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There is no shortage of discussion topics emerging from Josh Schonwald’s relatively new book The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food. If arugula can replace romaine, then what, pray tell, is the salad of the future?  Could meat made in a lab instead of a cow be a good thing? What is … Continue reading

Snack attacks and the hunger games: the downside to working out?

One of my favorite afternoon snacks these days: cottage cheese with Trader Joe's baked seaweed strips crumbled on top.

Sometimes I loathe the word “metabolism.” Sure, I’ve got one, and I am very thankful that it works. The problem is that sometimes it works a little too hard and the only thing I get done all day — besides working out — is eating. In fact, I’m on my third breakfast right now just … Continue reading

Camp Lejeune: lessons on breast cancer and drinking water

Camp LeJeune

Ever heard of Camp Lejeune? It’s a Marine Corps base in North Carolina whose polluted water proved to be the source of myriad health issues for a generation of military families stationed there — families who got a bit of closure this week. Notably, about 80 Marine males that spent time at the base have … Continue reading

Does SALT need an ambassador?

salt

I’ve noticed a lot of food world mutterings of late about the merits and pitfalls of SALT. Is it the enemy of healthy blood pressure and accomplice to the fast food industry? Or is it the perfect replenishment following a hard workout, not to mention a chef’s magic dust that makes food go from bland … Continue reading

The taken-for-granted summer tomato

Baby tomatoes

As I savored a giant slice of peppered and salted beefsteak tomato the other night — my raw tomato-loathing husband looking at me only slightly disgusted, that’s how good it looked — I found the taste taking me back to summers at my grandmother’s. The entire space of lawn that wrapped around the back of … Continue reading

The post-vacation food budget (you can still eat like a hippie on it)

tuna salad

The good thing about our finances and food preferences converging like this is it makes us much smarter shoppers.

Perhaps the only depressing part about a vacation is returning from it… and forcing yourself to eat even healthier than you thought physically possible (in part because you made the mistake of reading the ingredients on that add-and-blend piña colada mix after you’d inhaled about three blenders’ worth). The other tricky part? Realizing you’ll have to reach that healthful goal on a budget, because the rent for your home-home and your home-away-from-home-for-a-week came out of the account on the same week. :-)

After fetching our dearly beloved pup from dog-sitting friends, the husband and I headed straight to Trader Joe’s for groceries. This was, in part, because our nearly empty fridge had also lost electricity for a portion of last week after the DC storm (#funfridgesmells), and in other part because we were hungry, as usual, and TJ’s has samples. In fact, we were so hungry that we had to stop off at Teaism next to the Alexandria TJ’s for a bite (where I fell in love with these floor poufs…).

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Back to groceries. Our family (minus the dog, who eats flies when possible) is increasingly committed to buying food either A) from a farmer, market or CSA share or B) with the necessary food buzz words smeared across the label (i.e. organic, free-range, grass-fed, sustainably harvested, etc.) In our past life north of Seattle, this was pretty easy to accomplish. They even carried organic options at the commissary on the Naval base, where our bill would come to just over half of what we’d pay at the Safeway near our house. The commissary at our nearest base here carries ONE brand of chicken, and it’s the one that’s featured on Food, Inc. Needless to say, we’ve ventured out.

Also needless to say, we were spoiled. Suddenly, what we’re used to eating costs much much more. And my husband eats a lot. On his own for dinner one night, he bought four pounds of ground turkey to make burgers “with leftovers.” He figured that was a good amount for about two meals. The good thing about our finances and food preferences converging like this is it makes us much smarter shoppers. No longer do we throw things into the cart willy-nilly if we think we might eat them in the next few weeks. Nope, we enter that store armed with a plan. I have four or five weeknight recipes in mind in portion sizes that should (barring my husband’s overworking metabolism) provide enough for lunch leftovers. And I try to keep a few cupboard-ready standbys on hand, like tuna. (Here’s a little tuna meal made from basically scraping the fridge last week – with capers, parsley, tomatoes, lentils, you name it.)

 

 

Musings on Floridian food

Destin beach

When working men homesteaded in Key West… “The wives they imported from Northern states to help build the family stakes in the fruitful land would remember forever eating their first mangoes and making them into pie, as they had made apple pies back home. These women and railroad wives everywhere in Florida developed countless ways to use guavas, carambolas, fresh ginger, and local seafood. They left their mark on the cookery of Florida…”

From The Florida Cookbook: from Gulf Coast Gumbo to Key Lime Pie, an educational book on the evolution of Florida’s gastronomy I found at our Destin beach house. 

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