Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Michael Pollan is coming to town!

I'm so excited! Wednesday the Lakeview Libary and Community Groundworks at Troy Gardens is having a potluck and discussion in the evening to discuss In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan as a kickoff event to his visit this week.

I'm getting up early tomorrow before work to bake an apple crisp (not low-carb, but reduced sugar, at least) made with apples from a co-worker's home orchard and from Green's Pleasant Acres, where Jennifer and U and I made our annual pilgrimage this past weekend. On Thursday, the man himself is speaking at the Kohl Center on the UW-Madison campus. On Saturday morning, it's REAP Food Group's annual Food for Thought Festival, where Pollan is the keynote speaker.

I've been a Pollan fan ever since I read his eloquent "Naturally" when it appeared as the New York Times Magazine cover story in 2001. I swooned over every beautiful word in The Botany of Desire: A Plant's Eye View of the World.

I don't agree with Pollan on everything, but if more people turned on to what he's saying, wow, this would be a better place. I wish Obama had taken his advice to turn those manicured acres surrounding the White House into sustainable farmland growing veg for presidential family meals and state feasts! What a message that would have been.

My main gripe – my only gripe, really – with Pollan is his anti-meat, anti-saturated fat stance. It irked me whenever it came up In Defense of Food. He consistently treated the unhealthfulness of saturated fat as a given, even though in several passages he spelled out evidence that it is not. He says humans can live healthfully without meat, but not without plants – but surely he must be aware of the Inuit and the Masai, whose traditional diets included little to no plant food.

His main arguments against eating meat turn on arguments against industrially produced meat – but every one of those can also be used as arguments against all industrially produced food, including his beloved plant leaves. Which, by the way Mike, ya can't live on eating mostly them! Environmental, ethical – all of it. The recent book The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice and Sustainability by Lierre Kieth (a fellow ex-vegetarian, and a feminist – I haven't read the book yet, but I like her already!) spells out the horrific cost to animal life – in greater numbers – that factory farming exacts. Woe to the wildlife that crosses the path of a harvesting machine, for instance.

That's why I'm staying up tonight making a shirt that sasses back at his famous dictum, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Gee, I hope someday I come up with a famous dictum that people quote all over the place. In the meantime, here's the design. And, for readers who aren't familiar with it, here's the cover of his book which I'm spoofing, with Pollan's oft-quoted manifesto printed on the yellow band around the romaine. (Bibb?)

To that I say this: "Eat food. Mostly cheese."

That's my Wisconsin manifesto.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Indian Lake Hike with Reeb UU Congregation

We loaded up a few carpools and headed west to Indian Lake Park. Click on the picture to view a slideshow.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Indian Lake 2

Sarah Elmore organized the trip. Everyone had a great time.
Lexander found a stand of rare Indian Pipe flower. Angus found more nearby, and a trunk of tree ear mushroom.
Ulysses and me in a log cabin in a clearing.
We picnicked in the shelter after working up an appetite on the three mile hike!

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Goodbye, Greyhound

When we saw off Don's mother last Friday at the bus depot, we noticed a reporter type interviewing folks. We waved him over and wound up as the lede for the article he wrote!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

U's first day of school

Click on the picture with the arrow to see more pictures and two short videos of U's first day of school.

Ulysses was so excited to go to "big boy school." This summer he attended a six-week K-ready program that the school system provided. This, though, is the real thing! As it happens, his teacher, Ms. Ward (white cardigan) is the same teacher who evaluated him in March and recommend the summer school. They had instant rapport.
Ulysses wore jeans that Amma (Don's mother, Janice) sent earlier and a green checked shirt and white sneakers that we bought with funds she sent for school clothes. The backpack is a one-dollar find from a yard sale Don and Amma went to. For years Amma has been saying she will come and help Ulysses with the start of kindergarten. This year, it all came true. We went shopping for school supplies a week or so ago and had them all assembled to bring in to class. Nowadays they give you a list of what to get, including some classroom supplies.

The tables were set with an apple nametag for each child. Ulysses said, "I love my nametag!"

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