Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dirt, Germs, Food and Your Gut

Another magnificent essay by Michael Pollan:

"I can tell you the exact date that I began to think of myself in the first-person plural — as a superorganism, that is, rather than a plain old individual human being. It happened on March 7. That’s when I opened my e-mail to find a huge, processor-choking file of charts and raw data from a laboratory located at the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder. As part of a new citizen-science initiative called the American Gut project, the lab sequenced my microbiome — that is, the genes not of “me,” exactly, but of the several hundred microbial species with whom I share this body. These bacteria, which number around 100 trillion, are living (and dying) right now on the surface of my skin, on my tongue and deep in the coils of my intestines, where the largest contingent of them will be found, a pound or two of microbes together forming a vast, largely uncharted interior wilderness that scientists are just beginning to map..."

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Homemade Hot Sauce

Cider vinegar (balsamic is better); Cayenne pepper (any ground pepper will do); a bit of chili powder; salt; I often add finely chopped ginger or garlic; some ground flax seed to give it some body. Experiment to see what proportions you like. This is far cheaper than commercial brands and you can put in anything you can think of... I really like it and make a new bottle about once a week.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Signs of Spring

Peas planted, porcupines living under the shed, spinach in the greenhouse...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation

An excerpt from Bittman:

But Pollan isn’t about to become a cookbook writer, at least not yet. In “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation,” out Tuesday, he offers four detailed recipes, used as examples to explore how food is transformed: for Bolognese, pork shoulder, sauerkraut and bread, each an illustration, he says, of the fundamental principles of cooking.

The recipes, while not exactly afterthoughts, are less important than his insistence that cooking itself is transformative. Almost as soon as we sit down in my living room, he says: “Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet. What matters most is not any particular nutrient, or even any particular food: it’s the act of cooking itself. People who cook eat a healthier diet without giving it a thought. It’s the collapse of home cooking that led directly to the obesity epidemic.”