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Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Oysters

I don't like oysters. It is nothing against the remarkable creatures - the Chesapeake Bay is better for them, and we need more - but eating them is another matter. I actually like the unique taste of oysters; it is the texture that creeps me out. Raw oyster sliders? Gag.

It all started when I was a prideful teenager. My Uncle Bob (actually my father's cousin) had a Christmas party. All the adults were in the kitchen and living room, and kids in the basement. I didn't know many people and did not want to hang with the basement crowd, so I was upstairs arguing politics with my very-right-wing Uncle. I was proud of holding my own, and my Uncle found it (perhaps) amusing. So then he challenged me to oyster sliders. Not having had a raw oyster before, I was easily game. Just one,and I was running to the basement, suddenly more interested in playing pool than politics.

But once again we are dining on oysters on New Year's Eve. We have some very nice oysters from the Bay, and I will be making Oyster Stew because my husband and son love it. I will have it well, as I am learning to like what they love. A few weeks back, we went to Woodbury Kitchen ( with our friends Ellen and Joe. They serve emphasize local fare, and have an ever changing and intriguing menu (radishes with tarragon butter as an appetizer was a surprise hit with me). One thing they do exceptionally well is oysters - grilled in a variety of preparations. I had one with bacon and tomato, and I have to admit that they were the best oysters I have ever eaten.

We also have caviar on New Year's Eve, along with champagne. Since I love both, the yearly splurge is always a treat. This year, I am trying (semi) local, American caviar, primarily because of cost,and an effort to be more responsible. So if I the oysters aren't to my liking, I'll wash them down with caviar and champagne. Life is sooooo good!

Copyright 2009,

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stop Antibiotics in Farming

Yet another article about the need to stop using unnecessary ("preventative")antibiotics in livestock, this time from the AP in this morning's Carroll County Times. Under the headline "Pressure builds to stop antibiotics in farming", it begins with a story of a farmer who nearly lost his life from a staf infection that was resistant to antibiotics. His pigs all had the same resistance, the result of the antibiotics they were given. He lived; stopped feeding his pigs the drugs; saved $16,000 per year. Lots of quotes from Johns Hopkins Expert Ellen Silbergeld, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, another expert at Duke, the World Health Organization calling the problem "one of the leading threats to human health" and the White House pronouncing the problem "urgent".

So, dear reader, why is the practice still so central to mainstream farming? Those of us trying to make our family's diets healthier are seeking out farmers who do not use feedlot practices, but it is inconvenient and costly. If we become the rule and not the exception, we will exert some market pressure, but with so many hungry people, it is hard to argue for higher food prices.

Is anyone else frustrated with this situation?

Copyright 2009,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Eating Local in Wintertime

The winds are continuing today, so hot and hearty is on tonight's menu. I have a couple of packages of shin bones with meat from Groft's Content Farm, purchased at the Farmer's Market in season, and I think I will use them in a beef vegetable soup. The veggies will largely come form the grocery store, though I will try to limit myself to what is in season despite the temptations of fruits of all seasons. I barely went into a grocery store all summer, buying both meats and produce from the farmer's markets. Will I be able to keep up the "buy local-eat local" effort during the winter months? No!! I'm not Barbara Kingsolver. I don't have a farm. I didn't can my tomatoes. I froze meat ahead, but what looked like a lot a month ago now looks like only enough for a few weeks. I'm green, but just a little. Give me a well stocked grocery store (or hardware, the only two types of stores worth the effort to browse, in my mind)and I'm content until spring.

Copyright 2009,

Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter Winds

Today is cold and windy, but there is little snow on the ground. After getting almost 2 feet 2 weeks ago, we lost it in Christmas rain. More is on the way for New Year's. In this little snowless lull, I am hoping to get out to the garden to finish some undone chores left from fall. I need to tuck away a few things still in the yard - the Adirondacks that I so carefully painted shocking lime this year will peel if I don't rescue them from the backyard! I will check on the winter crops, but I think it is too cold for enything to be growing under the quilts now. Thanksgiving was the last meal made from our garden - a Swiss Chard Gratin and the last of the winter squash. The wind is so harsh, I'd rather be in the kitchen than outside. Dinner will be Fisherman's stew. It is cozy soup season!

Copyright 2009,