Lunch on the Grass

Much of what made life pleasurable is now gone. We must seek out what remains.
Image from The Children's Picnic and Other Tales in Verse (1883) Much of what made life pleasurable is now gone. We must seek out what remains. The study of history and the arts, the cultivation of friendship and love (to the extent that the current situation permits it) — such solaces can keep despair at bay, or at least pass the hours until more normal conditions return. So too can prosaic solitary activities, like collecting wildflowers, swimming in ponds or the sea, and marking the shapes of scudding clouds. “Who do you love best,” Charles Baudelaire’s enigmatic man is asked. “I love the clouds, the clouds that pass, eternally, the marvelous clouds,” he answers. Even small pleasures fortify us against hardship ahead. Read more in my history of the picnic. Read More...

Bitter Buttons and Other Backyard Weeds

Tansy is a lovely plant in its way — enough, anyway, to tempt me to take some of it home. But then I remind myself of its checkered past.
Image from Wildflowers Worth Knowing (1917) Certain plants our ancestors ate eagerly are now best left alone. Common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is one such plant. I often see this winsome member of the aster family growing along roads and in vacant lots. It greenish burgundy stalk stands some three or four feet tall and is adorned with clusters of canary yellow petal-less flowers. When crushed, its finely divided compound leaves smell of camphor and rosemary. It’s a lovely plant in its way — enough, anyway, to tempt me to take some of it home. But then I remind myself of its checkered past. Read more about tansy and other backyard weeds in my recent series. Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of May 19, 2020)

A deep dive into the causes of food shortages, food handling myths debunked, and 8 million pints of beer poured down the drain.
Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Image: Library of Congress Food insecurity in West Africa to spike from combined woes of COVID-19, violence, and weather Some myths about food-handling debunked The inability of local food supplies to remedy pandemic-related shortages explained A deeper dive into present food shortages, their causes, and their implications Food banks stretched thin by pandemic-related high demand resort to using driverless cars Another pandemic-related tragedy: Oz brewers dump nearly 8 million pints of unsold kegged beer Cities move to pare down delivery apps' take of dinner bills in order to help struggling area eateries A treat to make you cry: Teargas-flavored ice cream is a thing in Hong Kong Trump administration permits food producers to police themselves when using GMO crops, and watchdog groups are howling Pizza joint owner discovers an arbitrage opportunity in… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of May 10, 2020)

Dining on murder hornets, a Dali of Wheat Thins, and hard times ahead for food trucks.
Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Image: Library of Congress Hunger and food insecurity in U.S. explodes during pandemic Rhode Island's governor mulls al fresco dining provisions for state's eateries Imagining trends in restaurant design post-Covid-19 Texas prison system: Our inmates' food couldn't possibly get any worse. Coronavirus: Hold my beer Nixed festivals, higher food prices mean rough time for food truck proprietors this summer Yet, strangely, world prices for food plunge to record low in a three-month span If it's true that every billionaire is a policy failure, then a billion people facing starvation is one massive consequence of that failure Artist recreates familiar artworks with common snack foods CSAs having a moment in wake of pandemic-related disruption of food supply chains Murder hornets — as delicious as they are invasive? I’m always taking suggestions for food-related… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of May 3, 2020)

Killer home-brew, disappearing cheese, and food banks on the brink of extinction.
Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Image: Washington State University Library Why the Covid-related death of foodie culture is a good thing Pandemic-related food chain disruption has cut U.S. meat supplies to the bone And a cheese squeeze in France has producers crying, "Sacré bleu!" Organic foods, meanwhile, have surged in demand Otters hankerin' for a meal juggle stones, researchers have discovered Mom's quarantine cope is to cook upscale "stoner food" for her kiddo Dutch restaurateurs experiment with enclosed glass booths for patio dining From garden of delights to grim chore: Canadian shoppers now find getting groceries a drab affair, poll finds Food banks teeter on the brink of depletion Two South African homebrewers die from sampling a DIY batch gone bad I’m always taking suggestions for food-related articles, projects, thought experiments to feature. Send them to @AusterityKitchn,… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of April 12, 2020)

The perils of being a farmworker, bacon shortages, and why your chocolate bunny is hollow.
Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Image: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Despite assurances that supplies are ample, food isn't getting to many who need it during pandemic crisis Milk dumped and veggies mulched as store shelves stand empty Farmers are essential workers, and they're having a hard time staying virus-free First egg shortages, and now a dearth of bacon Restaurant critic on the "secret sauce" that earns a restaurant "classic" status The conspiracy behind hollow chocolate bunnies revealed Some grocery outlets using pandemic as excuse to gouge self-isolated retirees Best ways of cooking veggies for maximum immunity boosting In some parts of the U.S. more people are getting food assistance from schools than food banks And food-insecure Italians are getting food assistance from the mafia I’m always taking suggestions for food-related articles, projects, thought experiments to feature.… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of April 7, 2020)

Another looming zoonotic pandemic, food maldistribution woes, and tons upon tons of rotting produce.
Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Image: U.S. National Archives Doubt whether boost in wages by food manufacturers during pandemic fairly reflects risks faced by workers earning those wages Against "food bullying" Teachable moment: Pandemic-inspired panic-buying food shortages at supermarkets offer bourgie taste of food insecurity felt by the poor Coronavirus-related food shortages are really just food maldistribution Profile of the godmother of Ethiopean cuisine in America Food now rotting in the fields, thanks to COVID-19 Meat and just: Eating cats and dogs now officially a no-no in one Chinese city In related news: Lab-grown beef makes big strides in passing for the real McCoy Aussies self-isolating in the bush can order pizza delivered by airplane Bats were just the beginning: Food-safety experts war of "looming zoonotic pandemic" I’m always taking suggestions for food-related articles, projects, thought experiments… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of March 29, 2020)

A looming kibble crisis, food stores for tight budgets, and the wisdom of victory gardens.
Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Image: National Museum of Health and Medicine The COVID-ified food and drink scene in NYC, in pictures Pennsylvania woman alleged to have coughed on $35k worth of food in supermarket charged as a terrorist Looming kibble crisis: pet owners have turned to hoarding pet food as social distancing mandates tighten Calls in the European Union for a bailout of food and drink businesses One localvore's plea for more socially conscious food shopping in the wake of coronavirus Coronavirus pandemic underscores the wisdom of victory gardens Panic-buying means you may have to eat month-old eggs, USDA announces DC-area food trucks struggle to adapt to social distancing's effects Playing fetch: A pooch that brings your wine curbside for pickup Tips for laying in food stores on a tight budget I’m always taking suggestions for… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of March 22, 2020)

The ethics of ordering in, food supply problems, and a return to rationing.
Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Image: Washington State University Library Farmers markets bid for "essential services" label during coronavirus quarantine The ethics of ordering in and takeout while in self-isolation How coronavirus may prove an extinction-level event for US restaurants Coronavirus crisis brings to light distribution problems concerning the food supply Chicagoland eatery throws in bog roll with every carryout order If there's no bread or toilet paper blame panic-buyers, not retailers In a related story: UK food expert calls on grocers to ration during pandemic in order to reducce food insecurity "Flatten the Curve": a plague poem Food-hoarding for dummies, brought to you by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints British supermarkets may be required by law to publicize daily on-hand inventories under new coronavirus bill I’m always taking suggestions for food-related articles, projects,… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of March 16, 2020)

Sourdough starters made simple, regenerative wheat farming, and the dangers of hamsterkäufe.
Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Image: New York Public Library A harvest of healthy eating habits from around the world Big food conglomerate pilots regenerative wheat farming in Kansas The way we food-shop now Adopting a plant-based diet is not as hard as you think Highly processed convenience food's stealth takeover of your shopping cart ... and your life Panic-hoarding food and sundries in bulk? Germans have a term for that Bad brains: Sugary foods common to Western breakfasts cause cognitive impairment, research reveals The link between nutrition and social media influence A run-down of the woes that attend overindulgence in meat Sourdough starter made simple I’m always taking suggestions for food-related articles, projects, thought experiments to feature. Send them to @AusterityKitchn, and let me know how you would like to be credited. Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of February 23, 2020)

Pork rolls, mayonnaise slices, and bug burgers — all in this week’s linkpile.
Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Image: National Archives at College Park Slim Jim–style meat sticks made over into health food for fitbros Obesity epidemic among squirrels in one UK park caused by handouts from passers-by Hatred for chatty essayistic recipes from food bloggers flows ever on On the Nevada Culinary Union's retreat into "fortress unionism" New Jersey's much-beloved pork roll's centennial celebrated in verse In pursuit of building a better sandwich, Japanese company brings to market mayonnaise slices (sold in packs of four) Bugs are the animal protein of the future McDonald's launches "contactless delivery" system in Singapore in response to Coronovirus scare Archive of Mexican cookbooks from the past 230 years now on digital view World's first urban "floating farm" has come on line in the Netherlands I’m always taking suggestions for food-related articles, projects, thought… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of February 17, 2020)

The virtues of dining solo, human altruism and food, and what does an oyster taste like exactly?
Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Image: Boston Public Library Recommendations for how the government can shield youngsters from the come-ons of junk-food purveyor Answers to the question, Can a buffet give you coronavirus? From table scraps to tile cleanser? One company's doing it Popular Southern food eatery in Frisco's Tenderloin closed when neighboring fast food joint blasts raw sewage into it Meet the winners of the first annual "Fasties" award ceremony for the best fast food items Study of human altruism finds that toddlers will give up food for any grown-up who looks like he wants it Pointers on how to get the best out of dining solo Bullish numbers for food robotics expected for the next half-decade Review of a new collection of food poems A literary survey of the fraught task of describing an oyster's… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of February 9, 2020)

Vegan junk food, bacon patches to ease meat withdrawal, and, yes, eating out is bad for you.
Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Image: Flickr Recent "thalinomics" survey finds that price of common fixed-item restaurant dinner in India has increased for the first time since 2016 In related news: Taste for Indian food a key indicator of Democratic voter's candidate preference, recent poll finds Coronavirus panic spurs virulent revival of stereotypes about Chinese food Flying the hungry skies: And it has prompted airlines to suspend service of hot in-flight meals Vegan junk food is still junk food and it may be worse for you than its non-vegan counterparts Italy's newly implemented nutrition labeling decried as "clumsy" and "misleading" by consumer advocates Trump administration to nix existing school nutrition guidelines on birthday of their originator, Michelle Obama For those who are having trouble kicking the meat habit there's now the "bacon patch" Tips for easing into… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of January 26, 2020)

Killer cake-eating contests, steam-table economics, and space cookies.
Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Image: St. John's University Kids who watch cooking shows demand healthier snacks, new study finds Trump's re-election bid expected to send stocks in fast-food companies skyward Food waste in the U.S. an estimated $15 billion loss Steam-table economics: The dollars n' cents behind all-you-can-eat buffets Some $140 million in sales of organic food is of food fraudulently labeled so Cake-eating contest in Oz kills one contestant Brooklynites residing in Williamsburg push to wrest popular park from an equally popular yearly summer outdoor food market Already food-insecure Kenya hit by plague of locusts of truly biblical proportions Chocolate chip cookies to be the first food baked in space Down with lab-grown food, up with agroecology "Balmer" beta-testing various ways of eliminating its food deserts I’m always taking suggestions for food-related articles, projects, thought… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of January 19, 2020)

Brits breaking vegan, seaweed-eating sheep, and this is your brain on sugar.
Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Image: US National Archives A bullish outlook on ersatz meats through the new decade Attorneys General of 15 states team to sue Trump admin over cuts to food assistance Silica particles added to food may help to curb obesity by inhibiting fat absorption Offerings of food start-ups across the pond show Brits are breaking vegan in a big way Review of a new novel whose subjects are that of hog farming and hog slaughter "Green" news you may have missed: Sheep of Scotland's Orkney Islands eat seaweed, which causes them to pass less gas than sheep fed the usual fodder Fake meat brand Quorn to add carbon footprint labeling to packaging Ben & Jerry's releases streaming-service themed ice cream flavor, "Netflix & Chill'd" Recent study finds that sugar alters the brain in… Read More...

Pyttipanna (Links for the Week of January 14, 2020)

Cocktail-inspired yogurt, a brief history of scurvy, and baby-dolphin-eating celebrities.
Pyttipanna: Swedish for "small pieces in a pan." Image: Boston Public Library Aussie government begins airborne food drops to feed wildlife displaced by ongoing fires Celebrity survivalist finds dead baby dolphin and eats it, sparking outrage on social media Research shows that millennials dine out way more than boomers Work requirements for welfare in West Virginia didn't fill jobs, but they did fill soup kitchens In search of the metric that links free snacks at work to rates of employee retention The enduring influence of Elvis's fave eats considered Poem: "The Zen of Spam" Company that makes cocktail-inspired yogurt called out by UK physician A brief history of scurvy Automation apocalypse now: Pizza-making-robot startup Zume gets $375 million capital injection, promptly lays off 80 percent of its workforce I’m always taking suggestions for food-related articles, projects, thought experiments to feature.… Read More...