HandPicked 8–Stuff That Matters

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There’s always a lot going on in the space we call ‘real food’, but not every story generates a whole post on its own.

That’s why we’ve created the HandPicked 8–to give you a quick idea of some of the things happening in the wide world of food.

We are one week into July. What has arrived at your farmers’ market that you can’t cook without? What are your go-to summer dishes? Tell us in the comments.

Here are some good things to check out–this week’s HandPicked 8.

1. This is a quote from the great naturalist, John Muir from an article over at theatlantic.com: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” Author Joe Fassler uses that passage to present ideas posited by Dan Barber in his book, The Third Platein his article “How John Muir is Revolutionizing the Farm-to-Table Food Movement”. That’s some pretty strong influence from Mr. Muir who passed away on Christmas Eve, 1914!

2. Vox.com tells us about how Leanne Brown set out to make a cookbook for Americans with a food budget of $4 per day. Brown’s Good and Cheap, currently the focus of a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, aims to make good food more accessible to Americans on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, often called food stamps). Started as a finish to her master’s degree, a PDF of the book is available for free here.

3. We all know food waste is a big deal. The Lexicon of Sustainability has put up their Food List, a ‘weekly talking points to fix our food system’. In this post is some really valuable information about food waste and how to combat it. This is definitely worth a click. And a read.

4. Besides knowing just about everything having to do with food, Mark Bittman is a good writer and, maybe more important, a careful thinker. His article in The New York Times entitled “Rethinking the Word ‘Foodie'” has him cringing at the word ‘foodie’. Can’t we come up with a better word than this? Read on.

5. Before you know it, the autumn chill will be here and with it comes potatoes, root vegetables, apples, (among other good things to eat) and how to properly store them. Well, the clever folks over at Hobbyfarms.com have a great idea on how to keep your produce fresh and organized by building a root cellar storage system fit to your space. We want one of these!

6. The Splendid Table has a very interesting conversation with writer David Sedaris while he was on tour supporting his latest book, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. A sample line from Mr. Sedaris: “Because now, I think the problem is how do you even have a dinner party anymore? I mean one person is lactose intolerant, another person can’t eat wheat, someone’s a vegetarian, someone’s a pescatarian.” True that.

7. We’re fully into grilling season, and hopefully by now, everybody out there has their favorite ready to fire up at a moment’s notice. But, Businessweek.com has a post up that you may interest you. One from Denmark, another from Spain and a third example from Italy–all very attractive and well-designed for form and function. The American entry is from the restaurant design firm, the Rockwell Group, it’s being billed as “the world’s first social grill”. Fire it up!

8. Living in the Catskills we are close to the Berkshire mountains, so when we saw this article in the Boston Globe our interests were piqued. With the number of farms producing quality products increasing 30% in the last ten years, food tourism in the Berkshires is exploding. According to the article,“The idea is to tap into the burgeoning interest in food tourism to become a year-round destination.” Sounds like a road trip is in order. Let’s go!

And that’s some of the good stuff on our plates, July 7, 2014!

Have an idea for a story? Send it to us, we’ll try and use it.

Photo credit: Craig McCord