What I’m reading

Guerilla Gardening at Occupy Wall Street

A Way Through the Woods: Designing the Paths in our Forest Garden

Ask Umbra: Is it safe for Occupy groups to use wooden pallets?

Baltimore’s can-do approach to food justice

Uncle Sam Wants You to Raise Chickens

15 Food Companies that Serve You ‘Wood’

Age of Ag: A new generation of farmers emerges

Foolproof Homemade Yogurt: Science, Techniques, and Troubleshooting

2 Quick and Easy Sides to Spice Up the Thanksgiving Table

Pumpkin Gingerbread Recipe

Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten-Free Options for Thanksgiving

12 Easy Gourmet Recipes for a Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


“The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto”

There’s a good (if a little hard-to-read) post up at Common Dreams on the backing off of Whole Foods et al. against Monsanto’s pushing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Related topics also discussed include Whole Foods’ customer deception when it comes to “natural” vs. “organic,” the effects of GMO labeling in Europe, and how Citizens United might affect food legislation.

I think the author’s absolutely got the following right:

Perhaps even more fundamental to Organic Inc.’s abject surrender is the fact that the organic elite has become more and more isolated from the concerns and passions of organic consumers and locavores.

I think we, as a people, are less powerless than the author makes us sound. As long as we take the attitude that we can’t possibly defeat their anonymously-shared, potentially-endless dirty publicity money, we’re not going to be able to accomplish much. At the local level, however, the hijinks simply cannot be kept up for long. Furthermore, I think this is an example of something where consumer choices can actually make a big difference. I’m loath to put my faith in the power of consumer demand. At the same time, I’m heartened by how much consumer demand has already changed the market. I suppose we’ll see what happens.

(I am the first to admit the following also sometimes applies to me: if we’re going to reach the American public, we’re going to have to work a little harder to make a more coherent argument!)

Why are women depicted differently from men in food photography?

Why, that’s an excellent question.

Have you ever seen a photograph of Alton Brown biting sensuously into something?

…We’ve got our share of food celebrities, from dowdy to delish, but there seems to be a universal code that dictates female food personalities should always be photographed eating something… Men in the food business are masterful about their food, whether it’s Bobby Flay gripping a spatula like an axe, or Ace of Cakes’ Duff Goldman holding two pastry bags like tattoo instruments. B is for bad-ass bakers, and all those motorcyclists out there with a sweet tooth. I’m not trying to spin a few pictures out of context, but it was pretty easy to find suggestive photos of Giada, Nigella, and even Paula Deen. And I’m not going to mention Rachael Ray—she seems to be branching out into an entirely non-culinary field altogether.

Read more on this topic at Serious Eats.

I would say this phenomenon is also related to why cooking (domestically) is thought of as “women’s work,” but only 13% of executive chefs are women, and female chefs make 24% less than their male counterparts.

If you’re not already a feminist, check out the Feminism 101 blog.


(Umbrella is a post featuring things we read and found interesting.)

Food allergies are on the rise. Nearly 3 in 100 Americans has a food allergy:

The newly released study, perhaps the largest study of food allergies, showed that about 7.5 million people, or almost three in 100 people in the U.S., have a potentially life-threatening allergy to peanuts, dairy, eggs or shellfish. Children, as well as men and African-Americans, have higher rates.

A new study shows that people who buy food at the grocery with a credit or debit card are more likely to buy unhealthy food and to make impulse food buys than people who pay with cash.

Homemade Pop Tarts? RIDICULOUS! Get them in my mouth!

Also, get this Persian herb frittata in my mouth, stat! I will gladly wait the 80 minutes!

Have you heard of spaghetti tacos? I’m glad I hadn’t before, either. I hope I never have to eat one of these.

Here’s an article about cohousing in Idaho. If you don’t know a lot about cohousing or cooperative living, this article has some basics.

What is this blog for?

This blog is about what we consume.

It’s about food, for one thing. You’ll find new recipes and our takes on current recipes. Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and/or local foods will be featured. Many people don’t do a lot of cooking or feel they don’t have basic cooking knowledge. Thus, we’ll be sharing knowledge we’ve acquired about the foundations of cooking. Tips to cut food-related costs will also be featured. On “Found Fridays,” we’ll write about something we cooked or ate involving found food (usually dumpstered) in order to illustrate the deliciousness of dumpstered bounty, and to promote ideas about different ways of acquiring food besides purchasing it. News articles about food will be shared, especially those that involve new ways of thinking about what we eat or the relationship between food and social justice. Others’ blog posts and blogs will be shared as well. We’ll be talking about the stories that food tells and the anthropological role that food plays in our lives.

As we are homebrewers, we’ll be posting a similar type of content for beverages.

We chose the name “umbelliferous” for a number of reasons. Like the plant family of Umbelliferae, this blog contains a variety of tasty content, some of which serves a human purpose beyond what’s pleasing to the palate.


What does “umbelliferous” mean?

From Biology Online: Umbelliferous

“(Science: botany) Producing umbels. Of or pertaining to a natural order (Umbelliferae) of plants, of which the parsley, carrot, parsnip, and fennel are well-known examples.

Origin: Umbel: cf. F. Ombillifere.”

From Wikipedia:

“The family includes some highly toxic plants, such as hemlock. Many plants in this family, such as wild carrot, have estrogenic properties and have been used as folk medicine for birth control. Most notable for this use is the extinct giant fennel, silphium. The cultivated plants in this category are almost all considered good companion plants, as the umbrella of tiny flowers attracts omnivorous beneficial insects, especially ladybugs, parasitic wasps and predatory flies, which then will hunt insect pests on nearby crops.

…Notable members include dill, angelica, celery, caraway, gotu kola (pennywort), poison hemlock, coriander, cumin, Queen Anne’s Lace / carrot, fennel, asafoetida, cicely, parsnip, parsley, anise, and lovage.

…The botanical subspeciality that studies Apiaceae is sometimes called sciadophytography.”

Read more about the family Umbelliferae (or Apiaceae).