Read Sweet smells of success emanate from the Gourmet Cobbler Factory and Clifton’s BBQ by Frier McCollister (Pasadena Weekly)
When we hear about how the pandemic and ensuing lockdown has affected local “industry” we might not have been thinking of the Gourmet Cobbler Factory. Gourmet cobbler? Factory? Yes, another little known facet of our local dining scene is that apparently Pasadena has been the epicenter of artisanal fruit cobbler production for several decades. Just around the corner from the Academy Theater, the current iteration of the Gourmet Cobbler Factory dates to 2002, when Clifton and Gloria Powell brought their recipes for “Southern” fruit cobbler to replace those at the original cobbler operation, which had been producing cobbler in the same location since 1978.
Need an idea for take out on Juneteenth or for Father’s Day?

I just went for BBQ and cobbler on Wednesday night and can confirm this place is pretty solid. I wish I had gotten twice the amount of cobbler, but I guess I can go again soon. Like all good BBQ joints, one should call their order in ahead for best availability of meat. 😉

Read Eat This Newsletter 124: Indigenous by Jeremy Cherfas (buttondown.email)
Hello. Bit of a mixed bag this time, so let’s start with possibly the most useful news of the past two weeks: New test could guarantee the perfect avocado. No...
Jeremy always has the best of food coverage out there from compiling the best he finds to making one of the best podcasts around. If you’re not subscribed to his podcast, website(s), or newsletter you’re just doing it wrong.

the Wholesome Meat Act (I kid you not) of 1967 creates three parallel meat streams depending on the inspection in place at the slaughterhouse. Giant meat packers, who have full USDA inspection, can sell their products (and any ancillary pathogens) anywhere in the country. Smaller state-inspected facilities can sell only within their home state. And the smallest slaughterhouses can sell only to people who bought a share in the animal while it was still alive. Meat inspection is a cracking example of the capture of regulatory authority by the largest players, and it is by no means unique to the US. And according the The Counter, the bigger processing plants are getting more favourable treatment even during the Covid-19 emergency. 

Annotated on May 19, 2020 at 09:49AM

No doubt many have already seen that Springer has released about 500 books for free during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Springer, these textbooks will be available free of charge until at least the end of July.

A bit of Googling will reveal people who’ve already written some code to quickly download them all in bulk as well. I’m happy with doing things manually as there’s only a handful of the 8GB of textbooks I’m interested in.

Browsing through, I’ll note a few that look interesting and which foodies like my friend Jeremy Cherfas may enjoy. (Though I suspect he’s likely read them already, but just in case…)

While physical distancing, instead of my daily commute, and like many others, I’ve been spending the time to make bread. I’ve come up with some great loaves so far. I’m contemplating doing some matzo today.

For those who are new to the bread world, I highly recommend you listen to Jeremy Cherfas’ excellent podcast series on Bread from 2018. It’s 31 episodes of about five minutes a piece, which makes it a pleasant way to time your kneading process. You’ll learn a lot more about bread while you’re making it!

Bookmarked Old Fashioned by Tom MacWrightTom MacWright (oldfashioned.tech)

This is a website that I made about cocktails. I'm not a huge cocktail nerd (drinking is bad, probably), but think that they're cool. And the world's pretty bad right now and making this has been calming.

It gave me a chance to both tinker with technology I usually don't use (Elm), and explore some of the cool properties of cocktails: notably that they're pretty similar and have standardized ingredients, so they can be described in relationship to each other.

So some of it might seem funky. By default, the list is sorted by 'feasibility': as you add ingredients that you have, it'll put recipes that you can make (or barely make) closer to the top. Also, click on 'Grid' for a wacky adjacency grid of cocktails and their ingredients.

Also, for vim fans, there’s j & k support.

IndieWeb for trying times!

hat tip:

Read How Much Can Dietary Changes and Food Production Practices Help Mitigate Climate Change? (Pacific Standard)
Food policy experts weigh in on the possibilities of individual diet choices and sustainable production methods.

Agriculture, forestry, and other types of land use account for 23 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, according to the IPCC. 

Annotated on March 07, 2020 at 11:49AM


While there is limited data available that can confidently measure the expansion of the meatless population, societal indicators like the double-digit sales growth of plant-based food options between 2014 and 2017 reflect a growing consumer demand for vegan and vegetarian foods. Still, an analysis by Animal Charity Evaluators found that between 2 and 6 percent of Americans self-identify as vegetarians, and only 1 percent of Americans self-identify as vegetarians and report never consuming meat. 

Annotated on March 07, 2020 at 11:53AM


“The fundamental problem with climate change is that it’s a collective problem, but it rises out of lots of individual decisions. Society’s challenge is to figure out how we can influence those decisions in a way that generates a more positive collective outcome,” says Keith Wiebe, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. 

Annotated on March 07, 2020 at 11:55AM


Consumer demand is one of four important variables that, when combined, can influence and shape farming practices, according to Festa. The other three are the culture of farming communities, governmental policies, and the economic system that drives farming. 

Annotated on March 07, 2020 at 11:57AM


Festa argues that this is why organic farming in the U.S. saw a 56 percent increase between 2011 and 2016. 

A useful statistic but it needs more context. What is the percentage of organic farming to the overall total of farming?

Fortunately the linked article provides some additional data: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/01/10/organic-farming-is-on-the-rise-in-the-u-s/
Annotated on March 07, 2020 at 12:01PM

Read Forks used to be instruments of oppression (1843)
Forks can speed up eating. Historically, however, Ann Wroe says their role has been to slow things down.
This is an incredibly flowery piece without any of the substance I was hoping for.


plangent 

Annotated on March 09, 2020 at 10:59PM

Read Organic farming is on the rise in the U.S. by Kristen Bialik (Pew Research Center)
There were more than 14,000 certified organic farms in the United States in 2016, a 56% increase from 2011.

Still, organic farming makes up a small share of U.S. farmland overall. There were 5 million certified organic acres of farmland in 2016, representing less than 1% of the 911 million acres of total farmland nationwide. Some states, however, had relatively large shares of organic farmland. Vermont’s 134,000 certified organic acres accounted for 11% of its total 1.25 million farm acres. California, Maine and New York followed in largest shares of organic acreage – in each, certified organic acres made up 4% of total farmland. 

Annotated on March 07, 2020 at 12:09PM


Certified organic food, according to the Agriculture Department’s definition, must be produced without the use of conventional pesticides, petroleum- or sewage-based fertilizers, herbicides, genetic engineering, antibiotics, growth hormones or irradiation. Certified organic farms must also adhere to certain animal health and welfare standards, not treat land with any prohibited substances for at least three years prior to harvest, and reach a certain threshold for gross annual organic sales. U.S. organic farms that are not certified organic are not included in this analysis. 

Annotated on March 07, 2020 at 12:15PM

Replied to Navigating my way into veganism by Bryan Alexander (bryanalexander.org)
For the past month I’ve been I’ve following a vegan diet.  So in a brief pause from my focus on the future of education, I’ll share some thoughts about this experiment. It’s…
This is excellent Bryan. It’s something I ought to look into in more depth myself, but reading about your experience actually points out to me that I’m eating a lot more rice and beans in the last few years. Having a rice cooker means I almost always have cooked rice on hand with a fraction of the effort it had taken before. I also make about 4 cups of beans every week, so those are always hiding in the refrigerator. I also bought a tortilla press and making those is far easier and they’re far tastier than those in the stores and for a dramatic fraction of the price. I’ve taken to having a lot more fresh fruits and vegetables in the house, and I find it’s easier to grab an apple, banana, orange or something than it is chips or other junk food of which I’m starting to keep almost none around the house.

Another shift that I’ve found somewhat useful is that I became lactose intolerant in the middle of last year, so diverting around large amounts of dairy has likely been helpful.

One of my other shifts in the past few years is that I truly love a great pastry. As a result, the level of what I consider good pastry and other treats has risen dramatically. Now I find that I either have to make my own or get them on demand at local shops. This has prevented me from eating a lot of inferior and rather tasteless junk food as a result. Girl Scout Cookie season is upon us, and I just can’t bring myself to eat such dreadful snacks anymore when I could have something much tastier and likely healthier. Of course as part of all this, I’m also making a lot more of my own bread now too. It isn’t nearly as difficult as I had thought it would be to make fresh bread every couple of days.

In sum, I hadn’t really noticed it until you’ve pointed it out, but I’ve largely taken to the diet you’ve outlined. The primary difference is that I’ve come around to it in a much different fashion.

Read Norms is expanding like crazy. How a SoCal institution is staying the same to get ahead (Los Angeles Times)
The company that bought Norms restaurants six years ago is expanding the brand. How the 70-year-old chain plans to stay the same to get ahead.
I was shocked the other day to realize the West LA location had apparently closed. Now that I hear they’ve been bought out and are expanding, I’m wondering what happened at that location?
Listened to The Thirteenth Amendment by Dr. Sarah Taber from Farm to Taber

As immigration for farm work slows, farms are beginning to turn to convict labor.

Some stunning observations on labor here. Definitely worth a second listen for additional notes and subtlety.
Watched Meat Expert Guesses Cheap vs Expensive Deli Meats | Price Points from Epicurious | YouTube
In this episode of 'Price Points', Epicurious challenged meat expert Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions to guess which one of two deli meats was more expensive. Cairo breaks down cuts of salami, ham, bologna, mortadella, hot dogs, sausages, and prosciutto. For each round of deli meats, Cairo visually scans, smells, and taste tests each meat before guessing which deli meat costs more. Once the prices were revealed, Cairo explains why a specific deli meat costs more and dives into specifics on what to look for in a deli meat.
I just love food pieces like this that are less aspirational than most Food Network content, but are more informative.