Thursday, September 12, 2013

‘Fresh Rewards’ stretches Oregon Trail benefits

When the U.S. House and Senate voted to reduce “food stamp” benefits, I contacted the Ashland Food Co-op and Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market and thanked them for accepting Oregon Trail, the Oregon version of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

‘Behind the Kitchen Door’ is UUA Common Read

Book cover: Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman
The Unitarian Universalist Association’s Common Read selection committee has chosen Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013) as the 2013-14 UUA Common Read. It seemed only natural to pass word along, given my attention to the “common read” when administering a lending library for a lay-led UU community.

“The book reveals how restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America and how poor working conditions — discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens — affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables. ... Behind the Kitchen Door invites Unitarian Universalists to intentionally consider their practices in restaurant dining.”

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sweeter food is less good for you

To personal distaste, add health concerns among reasons to resist the tyranny of sweetness. According to Jo Robinson writing for the New York Times Sunday Review, farmers have bred nutrition out of food in a quest for sweeter flavors.
“Studies published within the past 15 years show that much of our produce is relatively low in phytonutrients, which are the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia. The loss of these beneficial nutrients did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, as many assume. Unwittingly, we have been stripping phytonutrients from our diet since we stopped foraging for wild plants some 10,000 years ago and became farmers.”
The two common themes, according to Robinson, is plants with the most beneficial phytonutrients have a bitter, sour or astringent taste and early farmers favored plants that were low in fiber and high in sugar, starch and oil.

“The more palatable our fruits and vegetables became, however, the less advantageous they were for our health.”

Robinson recommends selecting corn with deep yellow kernels, cooking with blue, red or purple cornmeal, arugula, scallions and fresh herbs.

“We can’t increase the health benefits of our produce if we don’t know which nutrients it contains. Ultimately, we need more than an admonition to eat a greater quantity of fruits and vegetables: we need more fruits and vegetables that have the nutrients we require for optimum health.”

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Restaurant staff redeems or aggravates bad customer service

With a sensitive palate, I risk special instructions being disregarded or not carried out. But how staff then handles it, makes a difference to my over-all restaurant experience.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wonderful breads at Ashland Food Co-op

Cynthia Parkhill at bread isle at the Ashland Food Co-op

Check out the wonderful variety of this shelf-ful of artisan breads at the Ashland Food Co-op. I love breads, especially those that are unique to a community.

Cooking class idea: Tactile-challenges work around

Mary Shaw at counter during "Pantry Basics" class at Ashland Food Co-op
AFC Education Coordinator Mary Shaw
taught a Pantry Basics class on March 20
One highlight of a week spent in Ashland, Ore. in order to secure an apartment, was the Pantry Basics class taught by Mary Shaw, March 20 at the Ashland Food Co-op (AFC) Community Classroom.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fresh Choice is now California Fresh

In Rohnert Park on Sunday, my husband and I were surprised to see cars in the Fresh Choice parking lot: surprised and intrigued, because when Fresh Choice closed its restaurants Jonathan and I lost one of our favorite Bay Area eateries.

Taking a closer look, we noted signs proclaiming the restaurant open as California Fresh.

According to Sacramento Bee writer Cathie Anderson, Fresh Choice slid into Chapter 7 liquidation in November. All locations were closed.

But David Boyd, president of Fresh Choice, started a restaurant company called California Fresh. As reported by Anderson, Boyd launched eateries at former Fresh Choice sites including the one in Rohnert Park.

Other former Fresh Choice restaurants were to reopen as well but according to Bite Club Eats, California Fresh will not open in the Santa Rosa Plaza location. Bite Club Eats quoted spokeswoman Kim Hall for Santa Rosa Plaza, saying the plaza was in talks with a number of businesses but that California Fresh was not one of them.