Fixing Our Food Problem

Nothing affects public health in the United States more than food. Gun violence kills tens of thousands of Americans a year. Heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes kill more than a million people a year — nearly half of all deaths — and diet is a root cause of many of those diseases.

And the root of that dangerous diet is our system of hyper-industrial agriculture, the kind that uses 10 times as much energy as it produces.

We must figure out a way to un-invent this food system. It’s been a major contributor to climate change, spawned the obesity crisis, poisoned countless volumes of land and water, wasted energy, tortured billions of animals… I could go on. The point is that “sustainability” is not only possible but essential: only by saving the earth can we save ourselves, and vice versa.

How do we do that?

This seems like a good day to step back a bit and suggest something that’s sometimes difficult to accept.

Patience.

We can only dismantle this system little by little, and slowly. Change takes time. Often — usually — that time exceeds the life span of its pioneers.

Mark Bittman on fixing the US, and by extension much of the world’s, food problem. If you want to make changes in your eating habits but need someone to give you a concrete plan you might consider visiting Mark’s Daily Apple, The Paleo Diet, or Robb Wolf’s site.


Lunch in the Philippines

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Poor shot of what was a nice lunch yesterday in Taipei – it felt like being in the Philippines as the community was out enjoying their one day off of the week. All the food was quite good though the almost black coloured dish was a bit more of a challenge. It taste good but it’s amazing how colour can really change your perception of a thing. Perhaps if a bright orange food colouring was added there wouldn’t have been the natural hesitation by all at the table to dig in and give it a try.

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Pork with Pineapple Raisin Sauce

I found this simple sauce tonight via a “feelin’ lucky” search on Google – I was scampering to find something interesting to eat. It was originally meant as a sauce for a pork roast but you can’t get roast pork in Hsinchu nor do I have a large oven to cook it in. It had to be changed slightly to be cooked in a wok.
It worked out ok and I will give it another try but with less sugar and raisins.
1st) Cook a large piece of lean pork that has been cut into small pieces in the wok. You will want to add some onion, about 5 cloves of garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper as it cooks. Just before the meat is completely cooked add the sauce.
2) Sauce:

  • 1/2 – 1 c. finely cut pineapple
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch

Mix (with a whisk) brown sugar, water, and raisins in small bowl. Add corn starch as you are mixing. Poor over pork and bring wok to high. Add pineapple and mix about.
Within a short period of time the sauce will thicken. I let it sit on low while I prepare the vegetables in another wok.
Serve with long grain rice (Thai. rice being my favourite).


Delicious Days

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I’ve been spending far more time cooking these past months than I have ever in the past. Cooking and spending time in the kitchen is something we should all endeavor to do more of – it’s a great place to get together and share in what is often forgotten to be a fundamental activity among families. We all spend far too much time racing around between jobs and bringing home unhealthy “fast food”. My point is not about cooking but about a great site I found about cooking (very ungraceful segue I know).
When searching for a snack idea I came across the site Delicious Days. While I can attest that the recipes are wonderful, what really makes this site stand out is the beautiful photography. Ever article is supported by appropriate shots of food and process making you almost want to eat the screen. The design of the site supports the photography well too. There are problems but I won’t nit pick – it’s too good for that. Go check it out for yourself – Delicious Days.


Garlic Ribs

This is an old recipe from back home I pulled out last night. It has it’s origins on a country farm where introductions to Asian food come from readers digest and the sides of instant rice.
Though it is a tad salty and perhaps not for those worried about their waistline I do I think it tastes great. Importantly, it is extremely easy.
I’ve changed it a bit to match what is available and done here in Taiwan (ie. I have no oven here).
1st) Cook the ribs. I bought precut short ribs – a bit more expensive but I don’t have the time to cut them myself. I boiled them to speed up the process and then finished cooking them in my large wok with about 2 tablespoons of crushed garlic.
2nd) Make Sauce.

  • 20oz of regular coke (600ml)
  • ~ 4 garlic buds. I used about 6 + tablespoons of crushed garlic, it was a bit much but I love garlic
  • ~ 1 cup brown sugar. I used a bit less than a cup
  • ~ 1/2 cup of soya sauce. You have to watch this as I find it makes it salty
  • 4 tblsp of corn starch
  • ~ 2 tblsp vinegar

Whisk ingredients.
3) Combine sauce, ribs, in large wok and bring to a boil for 20 minutes. Stir often. Cook covered slowly for another 30 minutes or longer. Start your other ingredients for the meal- rice and veggies.


My Chicken and Pork Adobo

I have been quite fortunate these past few months to have the time to spend on one of my favourite hobbies, cooking. Cooking is one of those activities that we seem to forget when you have to work late everyday and the lure of the corner “lunch box” seems so much more convenient. I’m not the best cook and my dishes seldom look pretty but I thought I would share from time to time the recipes I have enjoyed. The recipes are more likely than not, approximations … if you have some innate fear of failure and you aren’t comfortable winging it you might want to find other recipe with more exact instructions.
Here is dish I tried tonight which was taught to me by my Filipina friend Margie. Likely my version is no wear as good as what she makes but it tasted fine for a first attempt.

Chicken and Pork Adobo

aprox. 250 ml rice vinegar (or cider vinegar)
aprox. 250 ml water
peeled and crushed garlic (lots of it, maybe 3-4-5 tablespoons)
5 pieces of bay leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 package chicken (I used boneless chicken breasts cut Chinese style)
1 package pork butt ( a bit more than the chicken)
1 carrot thinly sliced
brown sugar to taste (I used quite allot)
soy sauce
oil
Add oil, vinegar, water, garlic, salt, carrot, bay leaves and pepper into a large wok. Bring to a boil. Add the meat, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Liberally cover with soy sauce (taste as you go) and cook for an additional 10 minutes (I boiled to reduce liquid to a minimum). Let sit.
Serve with rice.