Alice Waters

When I first brought my family’s food processing into my own kitchen I had no idea how to do it. It wasn’t that I had never learned to cook – as a newlywed I worked my way straight through Joy of Cooking and taught myself how to put a meal on the table. But making your own food requires more than just knowing how to read a recipe. It’s an approach, a process, a lifestyle. The way I’d been cooking my whole life was to pick a recipe, list the ingredients, and go to the grocery store and buy them. Letting the ingredients dictate the menu was a completely different way of looking at food. What I needed was to understand how cooking processes worked. That’s what Alice Water’s cookbook The Art of Simple Food promised to teach me. The plain yellow and orange cover attracted me immediately, and the … Continue reading

Kitsap Food

I joined the Kitsap Community and Agricultural Alliance to celebrate my birthday. When I started down the path of growing, buying, cooking and eating local food, I wondered where to start. A web search on “local food Kitsap” brought up the KCAA web site, Buy Local Food in Kitsap. I was so excited to discover the agricultural renaissance in my county! It amazed me that I knew so little about the place I live. I’d lived in Kitsap County nearly a decade but knew almost nothing about local history. On the highways I drove past significant farms, while on the local roads I saw smaller fields with cattle and horses. My own acre had a fallen barn on it when we first bought the place, along with old apple and plum trees. So it was clear this was once a thriving farming community. Once I located the KCAA web site … Continue reading

Petersen Farm Day

I spent my birthday on the farm. Today was the Great Peninsula Conservancy’s “Petersen Farm Day” event. If you’ve ever walked the Clear Creek Trail to its north end in the marshy grasslands you’ve seen it. Turning off Hwy. 303 to SR 3, if you look to the right, that large open grassland with the fantastic old barn is the place. Today’s event combined community activism with a family get-together. Gerry Petersen’s niece Dorothy Lind led walking tours of the farm, trading family stories with her cousins. The farm’s current overseer Scott Hall told us the history of that marvelous 1904 barn. A very entertaining historian acted the part of Holm’s neighbor Levin, whose home is now part of the Petersen farm. So many of the people who showed up today are friends and neighbors of the farm and its people. Nikki Johanson of Pheasant Fields Farm is growing row … Continue reading

Industrial food contamination

In the news today: salmonella on eggs distributed all over the country, including Washington state, is making hundreds of people sick. After I read Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma I changed my shopping habits to seek out organic vegetables, fruits, and dry goods, meats grown without hormones or antibiotics, and dairy from cows not treated with RBGH. I was aware that I was still being fed by the industrial food system, although now at least I was in the organic branch. Still, I became increasingly mistrustful of that system just by paying attention to the news. The American woman’s diet called for a steak and salad for dinner. So now I was eating organic salad and “natural” meat, but how much healthier was that food, really? In 2006 I was buying bagged lettuce from the grocery store for my salads. That year there was an e coli outbreak connected to … Continue reading