28 April 2008

It's not Coca-Cola; it's Rice.

As Americans fret about whether to shop at Whole Foods or Wal Mart, much of the world is preparing for a coming disaster.

American consumers will have realized that grocery store prices are skyrocketing. Thirty-percent price increases in staple goods; rations on bulk rice; prices driven through the roof due in part to antiquated systems of distribution and the ubiquitous reliance on gasoline: these are ominous and distressing signals.

Now, if you live in the US and are feeling the pinch, just imagine if you are one of the billion citizens of the Earth living on less than a dollar a day.

The rice market is the big one. A doomed rice market and we'll be looking at mass starvation on an unprecedented scale. Not to mention wheat. The wheat harvest for the year is gauged to be well off the mark. And what is causing this scenario?

Drought in Australia. American farmers forgoing wheat for corn-as-biofuel. Population explosion throughout Asia and Africa. In other words, as the Post calls it: the interconnectedness of our global food distribution system. In our effort to expand markets, we are dooming local economies. And now, we're bringing it all back home.

27 April 2008

CNN Breaking News: Whole Foods is Pricey

CNN has once again broken a major story: Whole Foods is expensive.

The article states that the market for 'green' items may have peaked. A combination of high prices and healthy (?) skepticism is turning American consumers away from organic grocers like the aforementioned Whole Foods.

And now, only 45% of consumers think that organic food is "good for them".

I guess Whole Foods forgot to buy ad space on CNN this month.

As all of us who shop organic know by now, Whole Foods is a behemoth evil chain capitalizing on the expendable dollars of hipsters and yuppies (and the poor folks who have no other nearby option for buying organic). Savvy organic buyers have long ago moved on to smaller organic grocers, farmers markets, and the Internet. The idea that because a gallon of milk at Whole Foods runs $7.00, the American consumer won't buy organic milk is like saying that because a Cadillac costs $60K, American consumers won't buy cars.

If folks are concerned about the high price of organic items, then do the responsible thing: buy them. It's a basic law of economics: the more people buy something, the lower the price will go. Local organic grocers have no interest in ripping people off. That's an easy way to go out of business. If organic grocers could sell their products for less, they would. But the demand has to be there.

If consumers would insist on organic goods and refrain from shopping at the local Safeway or Super Fresh or Food Lion or Wal Mart or whatever your local corporate mega-grocer happens to be, then the price would even out.

Don't let the dupes at CNN -- America's greatest source for selective reporting -- tell you otherwise.

24 April 2008

Pittsburgh... how could you?!?

Ok. So my friend Dwight set me straight. I should not be taking out my frustration on Philly Cheesesteaks. Philly actually voted Obama.

So he set me straight. I've made mistakes. I'm out of touch. An elitist. My economic distress causes me to cling to toasted white bread and melted cheese.

Instead, I am compelled to take out my frustration on the city of Pittsburgh. Dwight suggested I say something along the lines of "I hope you choke on your delicious Primanti Brothers french fry sandwiches." But I can't bring myself to do it. Somehow it's easier to hurl insults at the City of Brotherly Love than it is to dog Iron City.

Alas, I must do what I must do.

Philly, you are off the hook.

Pittsburgh, I hereby declare myself abstaining from pierogies for one week.

I think I'll be able to forgive you in about a week's time. Then I gonna max out the Visa at pierogiesplus.com

23 April 2008

I feel like I have no friends in PA

Dear Pennsylvania,

I hope you choke on yr cheesesteak.


21 April 2008

This is Not Rambling (work, badminton, 60,000 bees, plagairized food recipies)

It's been tough to keep up with the blog lately... with the campaign and badminton and all.

Spent the week working out the kinks on a new webpage -- shellyblake.com -- as well as preparing for a ridiculously epic badminton tournament.

Concerning badminton, I suggest the following: before entering a badminton tournament, do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with the rules of badminton. It also may help to actually practice hitting the shuttlecock with your 'badminton stick' rather than just tossing it up in the air, catching it, and laughing about its being called a shuttlecock.

But this is all part of the process of becoming more wisened and mature.

On the food front, I'm working on an assignment for the paper. I can tell you nothing about it. But what I can tell you is that 60,000 bees is a lot of bees. Really a lot.

Anyhow, this post is just to say that I am continuing on; I have not given up on this thing. In fact, for your patience, I have decided to grant you one of my few recipes. I guess it's sort of a meta-recipe really. Sort of a completely non-irony-laden recipe that has nothing to do with the absolute ludicrousness of certain people in the American presidential campaign. I think of it as 'inspired' by Cindy McCain (or at least some rouge elements of the McCain website team).

I give you:

Shelly's Quik[TM] Fix Fav

1 part vacuousness
3 parts pandering
2 1/2 ounces of Tabasco

Mix in bowl. Put bowl aside. Go to Food Network website. Choose any Officially American looking recipe (No curries! Pierogies are a maybe.) Make that dish.

Call it your own and serve to jewel-encrusted friends and party bosses. Call other people elitist.


15 April 2008

The Market

MJ was surprised by my reaction to the displays of butchered meat. "Haven't you ever walked through Lexington Market?" she asked.

Well of course, but something was different here. Something aesthetic. You see, I was falling for the beauty of the butchery.

I attempt to shirk off the morbidity of that remark now as I type. But to deny the artistry in the display of the splayed ribs, the disembodied tongues, the severed hearts... come now. Never before that Stockholm afternoon -- cold and blustery, full of the chill that drives you into a store for a scarf -- that I really noticed the translucent pink of skinless butchered meat nor the glassy strange stare of the herring. What's more I never had considered the artistry of the display -- this edifice to death arranged as beguiling commercial fancy.

For some reason, being in the commonness of the market gave me paced chance to see out of the corner of my eye the strangeness of celebrated death in its daily and habitual incarnation.

And then we moved out into the city.

14 April 2008

Tale of a Potato Eater

Ok. So I said I'd post about the Swedish markets. Sorry. Turns out a bunch of folks wanted more depiction on the all-you-can-eat-potato joint. So here are a few photos MJ shot documenting the "during" / "in-search-of-escalpation" / and "walking away" / "relevation" moments of eating. Go figure. Dig.

11 April 2008

Stockholm Stomach!

So, Sweden!

Let's start with Stockholm. A very beautiful and sprawling city / archipelago, Stockholm has the most varied cuisine we found in Sweden. That's not surprising given that it is overwhelmingly the largest city in Scandinavia.

Today: the Smörgåsbord.

This little joint was actually overlooking a big indoor market sort of in the center of town. Up two flights of stairs and there you are in this big pre-WWI throwback drawing room. small tables are scattered about. MJ and I grab a spot, drop our winter survival gear, and head for the buffet.

And about that buffet... let's just say no one will accuse the Swedes of being closeminded when it comes to all the myriad ways to serve potatoes.

Stewed potatoes. Baked potatoes. Potatoes with cheese. French fries. Something that looked like refried hash browns.

Yup. Potatoes. It's what's for dinner.

There were other things on the menu, though not particularly what I had in mind when we went looking for traditional Swedish fare. Had an excellent curry based around carrots and, um, potatoes.

Did pick up an excellent idea however. One I don't mind stealing. Pitchers of ice-water with sliced cucumbers floating about. Nice touch.

Tomorrow I'll take a look at the market and all the ways to display butchered animals.

08 April 2008

Eat More Grease

I'm back. Can't post much at present. Too busy unpacking and getting back to eating grease.