Monday, April 20, 2009

Food Fascination

Lately, I have been getting increasingly interested in the origins of our food. I'm not overly sure why this fascination has taken hold now.

Maybe it's all these years of glossy city-living finally coming into collision with my country bumpkin roots, where eggs come from pet chickens and kids bring pig hearts to school for show-and-tell.

Maybe it's the recent listeria and mad cow scares, those visible, festering sores brewing on the skin of our diseased meat industries.

Maybe it's that now, in the twilight of my twenties, I'm old enough to really vote with my dollars, but still young enough to have the fire and vitriol about right and wrong.

Or maybe all of this is a bizarre form of nostalgia for New Zealand, where the following conversation actually happened:

Karla: "Hi there, is this beef organic?"
Supermarket butcher: "What? What do you mean?"
Karla: "Oh, uhm..." (realizing she didn't know what organic beef is, exactly) " it grass-fed?"
Butcher, with look of perplexed disdain: "Of course -- what ELSE do cows eat?"

Good question. I didn't know what normal Canadian cows ate, but given the rarity of grass-fed beef, it certainly wasn't grass. Which seems weird since, of course, cows eat grass. So what are they eating? I realized I needed to find out.

Navigating the food information is tricky, since much of this information is "hogged" by animal rights propagandists. According to the multi-billion-dollar studies of the US Department of Homeland Security, the most active and dangerous terrorist organization on this continent's soil are animal rights activists... so naturally, I would prefer to "steer" clear of their input.

(I know, these puns aren't all that cow-mical... ok, I'll stop.) ;-)

Nonetheless, I needed to find an even-handed, non-shockumentary look at the sources of our food. And I found it, via an excellent book called "The Omnivore's Dilemma".

This interesting, balanced, non-judgemental narrative follows four meals, from seed to birth to plate. The first meal described is the fast food meal made by industrial agriculture, the second by industrial organic agriculture, the third by holistic organic, and the last as wholly hunted, gathered, and grown by the author himself. He reflects on and compares everything, from philosophy to final taste, weighing the pros and cons of each.

This book is full of deliciously interesting tidbits and food for thought... and since I'm thinking about it as much as I am, you will certainly be hearing more at a later date.

But don't worry, I'm not at all interested in becoming a nutso hippie living off grubs and poison ivy, either. So, my future posts will not be intended to disgust or veganize you, but to share what I've learned. Maybe we can even discuss it sometime, over a delicious, grass-fed steak.

Until then, bon appetit! :-)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fringe Prep

While the Ottawa Fringe Festival does not start until June, I'm already getting my preparations underway. My plans are thus:
  1. Do research, pinpoint interesting shows given the companies behind them (as in, be on the lookout for shows by Winnipeg Fringe faves like Randy Rutherford, TJ Dawe, and Keir Cutler).
  2. Amass an army, with the aim of sending out cells to investigate different shows (naturally, with myself among them). Doing this would accomplish two goals: Maximize the number of shows to see and recommend (or warn against), and dramatically increase Fringe awareness and participation in Ottawa.
  3. Uncover the Ottawa Fringe culture, which is a sadly inconspicuous and unsupported group of people (compared to Winnipeg), and expand my network of co-conspirators.

So, in honour of these plans coming to fruition, allow me to share a clip from one of my favourite shows from last year.

This is a music video from Die Roten Punkte, a show about a (fictional) German brother and sister rock band who play a faux-rock-concert (but with real music!). There is a plot about their childhood, etc, that is revealed during their interactions onstage and with the audience. It was hysterically funny, especially when Dave got drawn into the show.

Astrid: "Hey you! You with the stubble! Ya, you're pretty cute! Let me sing you a song..."

...which basically was a rock version of a drum solo to an orgasm, while the brother glares daggers at my husband. I laughed so much, I hurt afterwards.

Anyhow, enjoy their biggest single, "Ich bin nicht die roboten (I am not a robot), I am a lion!"

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Easter Special: Bunny Tales!

As mentioned in a previous post, I've been fostering bunnies for the New Moon Rabbit Rescue.

In short, the organization rescues abandoned (pet) bunnies, then fosters them out to homes that will train and resocialize the bunny. Once the bunny is ready, it is then put up for adoption... and then adopted.

The first foster was a bun named Nala, a 7 lb. lionhead with a sweet personality and a mischievous love of people-food. Like a dog, she would get an immediate interest in anything she saw you eating, and would not rest until she got to try some. One time she even upturned a plate on my lap when I "cruelly" refused to share some cake.

Because of a previous illness, her head was permanently tilted to one side, thus giving her the look of an attentive listener. We got to know each other for a few months, and then a lovely young lady adopted her.

Immediately after Nala, I fostered a very young dwarf rabbit named Sinatra -- so named for his blue eyes. His personality is totally different than Nala's; he's a cute little bundle of nervous energy, always darting around and adventuring into places he shouldn't be.

Partly due to his brief stay chez Helgahume, and partly to his general lack of interest in affection or food, we haven't bonded quite as much... but he's an adorable little feller all the same.

Anyhow, last weekend a very nice young man came to meet Sinatra, and has decided to adopt. This will be our last week with Sinatra, and I'm both happy that he's found a good home, and sad to see him go.

What will foster bunny #3 be like...? Stay tuned to find out! But in the meantime, always remember this: Bunnies should never be gifts for Easter... unless they're delicious, delicious chocolate! :-)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Forwarded Joke

This is a forwarded joke email that gave me a chuckle... it was too good not to share. :-) Enjoy!

Why parents should always check their children's homework before they hand it in

A first grade girl handed in the drawing below for a homework assingment.

After it was graded and the child brought it home, she returned to school the next day with the following note:

Dear Ms. Davis,

I want to be very clear on my child's illustration. It is NOT of me on a dance pole on a stage in a strip joint. I work at Home Depot and had commented to my daughter how much money we made in the recent snowstorm. This photo is of me selling a shovel.