On September 17, Slow Food USA held a national day of action where they challenged people in the US to make meals for less than $5 per person, saying, “The $5 Challenge is a response to the First Lady’s challenge to the nation to end the childhood obesity epidemic in a generation. In addition to Michelle Obama, a handful of other influencers such as celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and author Michael Pollan have increased public concern about the impact the industrial food system has on our health and the environment. The campaign is a way for everyday people to build and to share their own solutions.” The challenge: “I pledge to share a fresh, healthy meal that costs less than $5 — because slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food.”
OK. Now, I am a huge proponent of “slow food” (not the organization), and of eating fresh and local, with friends, and not at chain restaurants, but when I heard about this campaign, I thought to myself, “Are you serious?”
You know, I am really into food. I mean, have you seen my cupcake blog?
At times I’ve considered giving up all my media / publicity / political stuff and going to culinary school or otherwise becoming involved in food and food justice movements. I can feel pretty schizophrenic a lot of the time because I am interested in and excited about a lot of different things, and I’m not willing to give up any of them. Maybe I just need to write more about food.
So, in that vein, I’ve been reading quite a few interesting food-related things lately and I wanted to pass them on:
First, on “Foodies.” I reluctantly use the word “foodie” to describe myself because I am so into food, because I totally buy into that whole California fresh-seasonal-local thing, and because I really enjoy cooking for myself and with friends. And though I don’t have a lot of money, I totally splurge on hip, fancy restaurants way more than I should.
Anyway, The Atlantic recently published a piece called “The Moral Crusade Against Foodies.” Sigh. Here is a tidbit: “It has always been crucial to the gourmet’s pleasure that he eat in ways the mainstream cannot afford.” And here’s another: “Even if gourmets’ rejection of factory farms and fast food is largely motivated by their traditional elitism, it has left them, for the first time in the history of their community, feeling more moral, spiritual even, than the man on the street.” You know, I don’t think we’re talking about the same people here, and these stereotypes are what make me reluctant about the word “foodie.” But, whatever, I claim it and the whole slow, DIY, make-it-accessible to-everyone side of it all. There’s a great response here (plus a comment on the crazy Dervaes Urban Homesteading thing) by Peter on Cookblog here’s an excerpt:
“Going after egregious food snobs and gluttons is fine, but to include by extension the widespread attempts by regular people to produce and/or connect with their food is unfair. And would it have been so hard to make the piece funny? Gardening, curing, pickling, canning, and building sustainable local and regional food systems are noble and important, especially given the impending apocalypse. I helped kill and butcher a pig, and it was a valuable experience. Wealthy snobs and the novelty-craving media drive these trends right off the absurdity cliff but if the result is more people thinking about what and how they eat and making better choices then that’s OK by me. Such broad-brush (and humorless) generalizing is just obnoxious.”
OK, back from my digital vacation, and ready to make a bunch of posts. I can’t remember the last time I spent two weeks without my laptop! It was kinda weird. And I kinda didn’t like it.
I talk about relationships a lot. I think it’s really important for people in the radical and progressive-left communities to talk about how they apply their radical politics to intimate relationships, and have long struggled for guidance in this area myself. Many of the challenges we see in society and culture are mirrored in our closest relationships with others: how do we counter power imbalances across age, gender, and experience? How do we empower each other to fulfill each of our hopes and dreams?
I was happy to have the opportunity to talk about open relationships & nonmongamy in the newest issue of Yes! Magazine, which focused on families. The article is a short, introductory piece on why I have chosen to primarily (but not exclusively) be in open relationships over the last 20 years, and why anyone would ever want to be nonmonogamous – because it’s a lot of work, and a lot of emotional energy. Like, *a lot* of work.
If you’ve ever been involved in a print magazine, you’re probably sick of people asking you what is going to happen to print magazines, what with people reading all their content on the internet and new fangled technology like the iPad/Kindle/Whatever.
That, of course, is the 10 million dollar question. On Saturday, I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel for “National Magazine Day,” hosted by San Francisco’s great Booksmith store on Haight. The panel was coordinated by Kevin Smokler of BookTour.com, and also featured Jeremy Adam Smith from Shareable.net, Andrew Leland of The Believer, and Derek Powazek of Fray.
The great and wide-ranging conversation covered everything from the ethics and economy of using unpaid interns to create work,what it means to truly engage a reader, the changing role of editors (I have way more to say on that one later!) and lots of recommendations for publications that are really doing it right like Panorama, The Sun, and The Baffler. Here are two of my favorite parts of the conversation:
Stephen Dubner’s August 20th “How Much Do Protests Matter?” was a well-timed pep talk for activists everywhere. In the lead up to the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh later this month and the United Nations climate meeting in Copenhagen in December, this is a moment to be thinking about our power.
In Dubner’s blog post, he quotes several noted activists and scholars – Chester Crocker, Bernardine Dohrn, Donna Lieberman, Juan E. Méndez, David S. Meyer, and Howard Zinn – on whether (and how) protests have shaped history.
Here are some highlights:
Juan E Méndez:
Ultimately, protest works if it intelligently combines speech with action and a genuine attempt to persuade rather than simply antagonize. Under such premises, protest will continue to be a viable, indispensable ingredient of democracy for generations to come.