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Hump Day

I don’t feel as if I have anything particularly interesting to say right now. This is the first time I haven’t had a million posts lined up and waiting to go- and I find I have very little time to get to the list of things I have yet to post about. And now when I sit down to write (while I wait for the damn tomatoes to finish canning), my mind is blank and I have nothing to say. And so I am writing about having nothing to say. Here’s what’s on my mind, at the moment:

– Wow, canning takes a long time. I think I did 20 pounds of tomatoes and got 10 pints out of them. This time I squeezed them out a bit instead of just putting them straight in, and they are an interesting mix of red tomatoes and heirlooms, so the jars are all multicolored. Pics to follow.
– I love the Lord of the Rings (which I am watching while I write this, and wait for the tomatoes to can).
– I have a ton of eggplant to do something with. I think maybe ten pounds of eggplant. Can anyone think of anything else to do with eggplant other than make a mountain of baba ganoush? Which I’ll probably do. My sister will be here soon and she’ll probably eat it all in one sitting, if I freeze most of it so it lasts until then.
– I am totally perplexed by the instructions for my pressure canner, which say to let the steam vent from the canner for 7 minutes before putting the weight over the steam vent. Only, I never see any steam coming from the vent. So sometimes I wait 7 minutes, and sometimes I wait 15 in hopes that some steam will appear. Typically this is to no avail. Does anyone know why?
– I have the hardest time figuring out if I’ve set the temperature right on my pressure canner. It is only supposed to jiggle 1-4 times per minute (this will only make sense if you’ve ever seen one in action), but I find standing around trying to count how many times it jiggles per minute to be very tedious. And usually don’t do it.
– I find that the days I have my period I am just… vacant, in a way. I really think there is no way to spend the first day of your period, if you are like me, other than laying around reading a book and having other people cook food for you. Alas, this is never how I end up spending these days.
– Vodka sours make everything much, much better.

Today (when you are reading this, as opposed to Tuesday night, when I am writing this) is going to be an exciting day. I’m having a meeting to bring a very special food author to campus. I’m recording another chat with the Tolkien Professor. And the first half of my chat with KMO will be out on the C-Realm podcast. I’ll post a link as soon as it goes up. Stay tuned! That will have to be enough content to get you through the day.

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C-Realm Podcast
This is hilarious, because that community or death post I did earlier this week? Yeah. The first twenty minutes of this interview are almost identical to that post. It’s on other people’s minds!

And in response to some of the comments on that post… You know, I’ve been thinking about it pretty much nonstop, and the more I think about it the more I agree with what I wrote earlier this week. I have long been of the belief that rather than wandering around hoping to find the ideal situation, it makes far more sense to settle down and build it where you are. You make a lot more progress that way. Think about it this way: yes, I could move somewhere else and in theory build a community (in the sense that I typically use it, to mean a group of people who support each other and are dependent on one another for their well being), but I’d have to start all over. And then maybe I’d have to move again. This is what happened when I lived in Georgia. I made all this headway, I started to make a difference, and then I left. And I’ve been back several times since and it’s like all the headway I made had never occurred. None of the changes stuck. Because no one was there to see them through.

I am not likely to abandon the progress I have made here so easily. It is far too important to me. There’s an Evan Greer song that I always think of in these situations, and it goes like this:
“Once the novelty wears off we’ll find the same old shit/ that drove us from the last place and the one before it/ slowly it will dawn on us that everywhere is pretty much the same/ and if we want to find something new/ we have got some work to do/ so get the dirt and grab some tools/ or nothing is ever going to change… all you get is all you build and building takes some time.”

But it is the weekend and I’m supposed to be posting pictures of food, not rambling like I do during the week. I posted a C-Realm podcast primarily because KMO was over for dinner again, and we recorded another podcast, which will be out Wednesday. It’s all about food (big surprise). I’ll post a link when it’s up.

So last Tuesday I forgot to take pictures again, but halfway through dinner the plates looked like this:

I had a panko breading theme. This is panko breaded curried potato patties and zucchini fritters, which are basically grated zucchini and parmesan and were supposed to have egg but my eggs had mysteriously frozen in the fridge, so… yeah. They kind of fell apart.

Caprese salad with tomatoes from my friend’s garden.

And the whole plate all together. There was chicken there but it is gone in this picture. It was supposed to be lemonade chicken but I had no lemon zest so it wasn’t very lemony. But good! Everything is good with panko breading.

Yum.

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It’s funny, this has come up several times over the past couple days, and finally when I got one of those emails that people pass around with the latest, “this is how you can fight cancer!” news, I decided to write something on it. I feel like I know a little more about cancer than some, having lost several relatives to cancer, and I’ll be the first to say a good diet and exercise won’t make a damn bit of difference if you’re smoking heavily or living next to a power plant or drinking contaminated water. A good diet may reduce your chances of getting cancer, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will prevent you getting cancer if you’ve got too many toxic compounds in your body. So eat well, by all means. It will certainly reduce your risks of getting cancer, and it will definitely reduce the risk of other diseases- heart disease especially. But ultimately the goal should be to eliminate the most obvious source of cancer: a toxic environment.

It is important to include these two cancer facts (according to this email, from Johns Hopkins):

1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.
2. When the person’s immune system is strong, the cancer cells will be destroyed
and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors.

Now here is where I am going to diverge from this article. In my humble opinion, a healthy diet consists of whole foods: not things you buy at whole foods, but foods that have one ingredient in them. For example, broccoli. That is a whole food. I would also specify real foods, by which I mean ones that have been grown fairly sustainably, and certainly organically (but not necessarily certified, there are all kinds of loopholes in those laws). This is because broccoli grown in sterile soil with the help of petroleum based fertilizers and under the influence of herbicides and pesticides is not broccoli. It is some strange mutant that resembles broccoli, but certainly tastes nothing like it, and certainly does not have the nutritional content of broccoli. Like people, plants need nutrients to be healthy. They get their nutrients from bacteria and fungi and small microbial things in the soil, which are not present under the onslaught of chemicals. And if there are no nutrients in the soil, the broccoli will be unhealthy. It will have no nutrients. And therefore when you eat it, you will have no nutrients. It’s not rocket science.

This article tells us that in order to prevent cancer, you need to deprive cancer of the foods that encourage it. All right. A good argument. According to this, those include:
1. Processed sugars. No argument here. Also, apparently, table salt, which it recommends replacing with sea salt, which I would recommend anyway. It tastes better.
2. Milk. Well. Yes, ok, too much milk DOES cause quite a lot of health conditions. It’s high in animal proteins which most humans have difficulty with in too high quantities. But really, I would be willing to make a fairly steep bet that RAW milk as opposed to pasteurized would in fact help FIGHT cancer, having so many healthful properties designed by nature to boost the immune system. See the post below for more info. I especially disagree with this article in that it recommends soy milk as a replacement: bad plan. Most people have a really hard time digesting unfermented soy in any form (including tofu and soy milk) and it produces all kinds of weird compounds that build up in the system and suppress thyroid function and all kinds of nasty things that probably LEAD to cancer. I’m going to be posting more on this later though, so I’ll leave it at that.
3. Meat. Oh dear. Yes, this one is also sort of true, but here’s the trick: it’s the overconsumption of meat that causes cancer. It’s also the overconsumption of grains, especially GMO grains. See, like plants and humans, cows need nutrients. And cows get nutrients by eating grass. However, most cows do not eat grass anymore, they eat genetically modified corn and soy beans. These are not good for cows. Cows get sick and fatty and have very little nutrition to pass on to you- making them really bad to eat in quantity.

This is really the point I wanted to address by posting bits of this cancer article. We, as a society, tend to see things in blacks and whites. Even fairly healthy eaters (cough many vegetarians cough) tend to see ALL meat as bad as opposed to factory farmed meat. The full bit from the article read:

“Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little chicken rather than beef or pork. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer.”

They’re making an assumption, and if you haven’t educated yourself, you would never catch it. I asked some of my students if they could catch it, and a few of them, who have been out to farms, picked up right away. I’ll run it past you again:

“Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer.”

Meat raised in feedlots and poor industrial conditions, as opposed to animals raised in the manner they evolved to be raised, as in, outside, on grass, in the sunshine, eating foods their bodies are adapted to eat, not grains, DO NOT contain antibiotics and growth hormones, because there would be no point (it would be a waste of money), and very very rarely contain parasites and pathogens, because they are HEALTHY animals.

The article wraps up by saying, eat lots of fresh veggies, eat lots of grains and seeds and nuts, don’t drink caffeine (come on, duh), don’t drink toxic water, and don’t put plastic in the microwave. Because it MELTS. Seriously, people, don’t put your food in plastic at all. Glass all the way. Plastic will inevitably leach into your food, especially if you keep heating your food up in it. And you shouldn’t eat plastic.

Or, for that matter, imitation food.

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Welcome to the Pond

At one point I was going to publish a cookbook.  I wrote most of a cookbook, in fact.  And then I realized I didn’t know what the fuck I was talking about.

Maybe that’s not the best way to start out.  I’m distracted by wanting to change the css of this site and not wanting to pay the annoying fee that will allow me to do so.  But really I want to somehow explain why I’m doing this, why food suddenly became the focus issue of my life, how I started off ranting about politics and feminism and the right-wing media and the next thing I knew all I cared about was hearth and home, kitchen and sewing room, and building a safe haven for all of us who love to create, love to experience, love to live, and find that passion crushed out of us by the day to day grind of getting a 9-5 doing something for somebody else that really you couldn’t care less about.

And so, one day, Fish in the Water will be a farm.  But in the meantime, it’s a food blog, trying to catalogue how I got to where I am today, trying to put into words the odd path my life has followed to bring me to this point- partially for my own sanity (ie, trying to figure out what happened, since I really wasn’t conscious of it along the way) and possibly on the off chance that someone else gives a shit.

I’m writing about my attempts to get back in the water.  We’re all living in some strange environment we (as humans) have built for ourselves, and we’re all gasping for air, and we’re all looking around at each other as we flop around on the concrete saying, “Isn’t this fantastic?”  But more and more and more of us feel like something’s wrong.  Most of us can’t quite put a finger on what it is.  But all these strange seemingly coincidental things seem to be pointing, at least to me, to the fact that we’re just living out of our element.  Humans weren’t designed or didn’t evolve or whatever you want to call it to live this way.  And at this point in my life I’ve been fortunate enough to have a glimpse of what living in the water could be like, and even to live there for a while, if only in the shallows, and I’m going to do everything in my power to get myself and everyone who wants to come with as far out into the pond as we can make it.  Some people keep telling me to wait, to hold out for reform, or the revolution, or whatever it is, but fuck that.  I’m drying out, here, and I’ve only got the one life, and I’m not going to waste it here on land.

Point being, I was originally going to try to put my writing here in some semblance of an order.  But half of it is from years ago, and half of it is from my old work blog, and half of it is new- so I’m just going to post it up here as I go, and try to make sense  of it as it goes.

Time to dive in!  (hahaha.  I knew there would come a moment when I pushed that metaphor too far.  I think that was it.)

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