Headed up the Hudson to the lovely home of Ms. Johnson for Thanksgiving. I was lucky enough to be in the presence of people who know good food (2 of them working for Stone Barns, and another having worked for Slow foods). The hostess brined the turkey the night before and lay bacon strips over the skin as it roasted. BEST TURKEY EVER!!! so juicy, tender and tasty.
Was also introduced to Bagna cauda and cauliflower romanesco (possibly the most adorable vegetable out there).
Slightly intimidated, I contributed a Blueberry cream pie and Maple bacon butternut squash.
Hazel out ate all of us.



It's always a little sad when a tradition has to be broken and this year will mark the first time in 5 years that i will not be visiting old friends in SF for thanksgiving. The first gathering in 2003 was actually a "costume" party requiring all guests to come dressed as either a pilgrim or an Indian (pure genius). In a panic, the day of, i went to the nearest drug store and bought some poster board (strangely stocked only with fluorescents) and slapped together the above headdress with a stapler. As you can see it ended up looking more like Vegas than Pocahontas. Very bummed to be missing the SF gastric extravaganza (er... and the epic rock band sessions).

XO to all in SF!!


As the most gluttonous day of the year rapidly approaches, there's no better time to start being mindful of what foods we are buying, consuming and putting into our bodies. Unfortunately, I am not blessed with a Whole foods or Real foods, or farmer's market in the immediate vicinity. There is one lonely market called Urban Rustic that does stock up on organic and locally grown produce but lacks in selection and basics as well as being slightly more expensive than the Met Food that is so conveniently located around the corner from my apartment. Met Food does the job but I imagine that it is not so far removed from a grocery store in Poland. Most of the product labels are in Polish if that is any indication of what I am dealing with. Yes, I could trek over to Manhattan to purchase my locally grown organic produce but the reality of it is, it's just quicker and cheaper for me to go to the Met food. So the question becomes, why aren't organic, locally grown foods more readily available and affordable?

Which brings me to all this cabinet talk that the nation seems to be obsessed over. We all know that the pick for Secretary of Defense or State will be a very important and telling decision for Obama but what about who he picks for Secretary of Agriculture. It may seem like a decision stemming from the usual change of guard formality but really just as much attention and weight should be given to who is chosen for this position as it can and will directly affect our health, as well as environment and energy policies.

Enter Michael Pollan.
In recent weeks there has been a movement to endorse Michael Pollan which is taking the form of a petition to President-Elect Barack Obama. Pollan is an author, columnist, journalist, and activist whom is most noted for his book Omnivore's Dilemma. His area of expertise being agribusiness.

You may be wondering:
1) what does the secretary of agriculture do?
2) why this guy?
3) what does it matter?

The Secretary of Agriculture is head of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) which is, as defined by Wikipedia:
"a United States Federal Executive Department (or Cabinet Department). Its purpose is to develop and execute policy on farming, agriculture, and food. It aims to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers, promote agricultural trade and production, work to assure food safety, protect natural resources, foster rural communities and end hunger in America and abroad."
Basically, the Department of Agriculture is responsible for (but not limited to) policies that affect what we eat in the US, what is grown in the US, how it is grown in the US which all cumulatively affect our health, the environment, and energy policies in the US.

I admit I have not read Omnivore's Dilemma but I did read this extensive and thorough Op-Ed written in early October by Pollan for NYTimes. It takes the form of a letter written to the highly anticipated President-Elect. In it he implores the next president:

"...to make the reform of the entire food system one of the highest priorities of your administration: unless you do, you will not be able to make significant progress on the health care crisis, energy independence or climate change."

He begins by explaining how in the 70's, a crisis in rising food prices spawned an effort to make food cheap (hence a fast food nation), which changed the structure of government subsidies, strongly encouraging farmers to plant monocultures like corn and soy. The idea was that by bringing down prices in corn and soy, this would effectively bring down the price of other commodities. It worked but to sustain these monocultures, fossil fuels were implemented to take the place of human labor and petroleum based pesticides became common practice to maximize yield but all at the expense of eater and environment. He argues that our current system is based on cheap fuel intensive processes which leaves a huge and unnecessary carbon footprint. He also explains in great detail how the health, food and energy industries are interconnected. Pollan not only points to the problems, he also offers steps and solutions as to how to fix them on a conceptual level which could be indispensable regarding making informed policy decisions.

Next I would listen to Pollan on the Brian Lehrer show:

Here is the NYTimes article that Pollan refers to regarding melamine in US food chain supply.

Not unlike the Sub-prime mortgage crisis, everything is connected and Pollan makes a very good case on why we should care. We need somone who can connect the dots and will work with the health, environment and energy sectors to bring about effective change. It may be a long shot but if you feel the way that I do and think this administration should take a serious stand on reforming agriculture policies then join me in signing this petition to elect Michael Pollan.

Related links:
King Corn - is a documentary which began with the simple idea- finding out where our food came from. It follows the life span of the subsidized corn crop from seed to well almost everything we eat.
Just discovered- Aaron Woolf , one of the filmakers resides in NY, and opened a know-where-your-food-comes-from grocery store called........Urban Rustic!! The very market i mentioned in the beginning of this post. small world!

Slow Food International
- is good, clean, and fair food. The movement is founded upon this concept of eco-gastronomy – a recognition of the strong connections between plate and planet.



Spent most of saturday baking a browned butter sage apple pie. Got out of the house to do some grocery shopping...



Life happens and friends go their separate ways but it's never too late to reconnect.
An old friend got in touch today and it made my day. So many good memories...
BH, it's good to have you back in my life.


Made a quick trip to the catskills which is always a good time.
Can't go wrong with good folks, Lagavulin, montreal seasoned steak, sage apple pie, 2 guitars, 1 piano and access to a sauna.



I was perusing The Selby site the other day, getting lost in other peoples environments and came across this strange beauty...somewhere in Mexico

play loud:
∆ asobi seksu - red sea

off to the catskills....have a good weekend!



When i was little, my mother would subject my sister and I to art classes that she would teach herself. She would set up our stained and shabby cabbage patchkids and GUNDS in an awkward still life and have us draw/paint in proportion and in perspective (extremely difficult when you're 7 and still confounding at times at...er...older!) using an array of different mediums. I could never sit still; becoming restless each time without fail and would secretly wish i was watching nickelodeon or tap dancing. Many years later, i realized that had she not instilled in me those skills and techniques as well as an appreciation for art, I most likely would not be where i am today.

Those art lessons were the beginning of life lessons which helped form the way I perceive, experience and react to the world. This poem is dedicated to my mother.

YOU BEGIN by Margaret Atwood

You begin this way:
this is your hand,
this is your eye,
that is a fish, blue and flat
on the paper, almost
the shape of an eye.
This is your mouth, this is an O
or a moon, whichever
you like. This is yellow.

Outside the window
is the rain, green
because it is summer, and beyond that
the trees and then the world,
which is round and has only
the colors of these nine crayons.

This is the world, which is fuller
and more difficult to learn than I have said.
You are right to smudge it that way
with the red and then
the orange: the world burns.

Once you have learned these words
you will learn that there are more
words than you can ever learn.
The word hand floats above your hand
like a small cloud over a lake.
The word hand anchors
your hand to this table,
your hand is a warm stone
I hold between two words.

This is your hand, these are my hands, this is the world,
which is round but not flat and has more colors
than we can see.

It begins, it has an end,
this is what you will
come back to, this is your hand.



Today was a good day for a number of reasons and i wish i could bottle up the overall feeling so that when i have a bad day, i can open it up and remember today.

Been listening to Max Richter lately and his most recent project, 24 Postcards in Full Color has been in heavy rotation. Perhaps i could embed today's memories into a song which will evoke the feeling upon listening.

Can't link to the song but here is his site.
1) Click on the last picture (5 across, 4 down, H thinks a journey)
2) listen
3) get lost



girl who grew up with a robot...

saturday morning blues...

election day...

all hallow's eve...

beware the book of the dead...

how are you going to hold your drink if you're holding all those props?


I generally make it a rule of thumb not to go to concerts that cost over $20. There are bands ad infinitum to go see and to see all of them would break the bank so i try to see lesser known bands that are quietly doing their thing and actually need the support. As a result, I am resigned to the fact that I probably will never see bands like Broken
Social Scene because they now command over $30 ticket prices or they headline at free concerts like the Siren Music Festival which requires zen like patience, superman eyesight and hearing like a bat......unless !!! someone buys you tickets to a proper viewing for your birthday.

Let me begin by saying that the Canadian musicians/bands I've seen (i've seen a few), know how to put on a good show and are often distinguished by an unbridled enthusiasm and unpretentiousness. This Oct. 26th show at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple was no exception.

Opener was Land of Talk which merits checking out on their own sans the BSS clout. Liz Powell did double duty turning in a solid performance for her own band as well as filling in some big Feisty shoes for BSS. I must mention that she is built like a swimmer and sports the best bowl haircut this side of China. kind of mesmerizing.

As for BSS...
There's just something to be said about musicians who can change it up in live performances. You figure it must be a bore after the umpteenth time so this ability is not only the mark of skilled musicians but also happy musicians. Performances that stray from original recordings are a treat and I always look forward to the nuances or the not-so-nuanced nuances. I have to admit that my interest in Broken Social scene was somewhat waning but seeing them live (like all good concerts should) has renewed my interest.

pics via brooklynvegan.

checkout the the drummers blog: Justin Peroff

∆ broken social scene - major label debut
∆ broken social scene - it's all gonna break
∆ land of talk - some are lakes
∆ land of talk - young bridge



Ahhhh at last, the people have spoken and chosen wisely. A strange feeling this is, to feel pride (which has been absent for so long) in your country. Good job America!
The world applauds us.
While i attended a birthday/election party, this was happening down the street.



found on this blog:

"Twas the night before elections
And all through the town
Tempers were flaring
Emotions all up and down!

I, in my bathrobe
With a cat in my lap
Had cut off the TVTired of political crap.

When all of a sudden
There arose such a noise
I peered out of my window
Saw McCain and his boys

They had come for my wallet
They wanted my pay
To give to the CEOs
Who had not worked a day!

He snatched up my money
And quick as a wink
Jumped back on his bandwagon
As I gagged from the stink

He then rallied his henchmen
Who were pulling his cart
I could tell they were out
To tear my country apart!

"On Fannie, on Freddie,
On Cheney and Palin!
On Exxon and Enron"
He screamed at his failin".

They took off for his cause
And as he flew out of sight
I heard him laugh at the Nation
Who wouldn"t stand up and fight!

So I leave you to think
On this one final note-


daylight savings has begun.
halloween came and went.
I dressed up as the 700 billion dollar bailout. No one really got it.