I have a whole bunch of recommendations for you in this post, but mostly I want to talk about the book in the photo up there. I was quite lucky to be offered a copy from the publisher to read and review quite a little while ago, and I finally managed to site down and read last weekend.
The Butcher and the Vegetarian was written by Tara Austen Weaver, author of the lovely Tea and Cookies blog, which I don't know how I've missed all this time, but it's now bookmarked in my cooking folder. In her book she tells her story of her encounters with meat (recommended by her doctor to help her overcome some health issues) after a lifetime as a vegetarian. There are a lot of books out there these days about our food supply and eating responsibly, and I've found some of them to be rather preachy and alarmist, but this was much different. Tara is very balanced in her book, and she writes with warmth and a little self-deprecating humor that I really connected with. I have actually been thinking about eating less meat, and eating better, more humanely raised meat when I do. I especially liked the sections where she visited some smaller farms where the farmers are doing just that, and I definitely want to start looking for some sources for those types of products in my area. I was just the sort of thing I've been wanting to learn more about.
I think a lot of this thinking on my part has come from having my chickens for the last three and a half years. I love gathering and cooking their eggs, knowing that they spend their days wandering wherever they please, pecking and scratching and eating a diet with such variety. Those girls are spoiled, I tell you. They get fruit and vegetable scraps from the little café at work, all sorts of bugs, a handful of scratch every morning, and also their regular chicken feed. When I hear about factory egg farms, and how the birds are treated I know I never want to have a store bought egg again.
So anyway, I highly recommend The Butcher and the Vegetarian, it's a good read, particularly if you are thinking about improving the way you eat.
So here are some other things I recommend right now:
- In my continuing quest to drink more water, I've started filling a pitcher with water filtered in our Brita filter and then adding ribbons of cucumber sliced lengthwise and a few sprigs of mint. So much better than plain! I'm not sure why, but I think it is much more thirst quenching.
- Netflix has all eight seasons of McLeod's Daughters, and I've been totally addicted. It's an Australian series about a bunch of women ranchers. I have to say, however, it went downhill into soap opera territory the last couple seasons. I loved the first three seasons the best.
- I've reviewed a lot of cooking apps for the iPhone over at APPlesauce, and now that I've been trying them all out for a little while, the Epicurious app seems to be winning as my favorite. It's free, which of course earns it bonus points, but I would have paid for it if I had to.
- My current favorite podcast (well, videocast, really) is Working Class Foodies. They're quick, just six or eight minutes, and full of all sorts of delicious recipes and tips, and everything is fresh but also cheap.
I bought some tiny Forelle pears, just because they were so pretty.