Friday, July 31, 2009

Farm City

I read Novella Carpenter's book Farm City yesterday. It was a fascinating look at a woman's quest to create an urban farm in Oakland, CA. She went from just fruits and vegetables to adding poultry, bees and then eventually rabbits and pigs. I like how it was realistic without being graphic although I have to admit the dumpster diving for food to give the various animals made me a little queasy. I appreciated how much she cared for the animals and how much respect she gave to their deaths. It was a quick read but really brought together the urban experience and the farm experience in a clear, detailed way. Who knew it was possible? It also made me grateful that I although I live in Baltimore City, I have a large yard where I can raise fruits and vegetables without squatting on someone else's land. It reinforced my interest in bees but I can't imagine forcing my neighbors to deal with noise and smell that come with raising pigs or poultry. Perhaps because I am a homeowner.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I wish

I had an excuse to get one of these fancy, detailed gelatin molds made.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Big Sur Bakery Cookbook

I have to admit that I was first attracted to the book not because I have been to the Big Sur Bakery but because the name "Big Sur" always stuck in my mind from references to it in books particularly Helter Skelter which describes Manson driving around Big Sur. But I digress. The cookbook, although murder and cult free, is well written, focusing on the workers and producers of the food they sell seasonally. The recipes are easy to follow and the stories behind them compelling. I think it would make a great present as it has great pictures, stories and recipes--a more complete package than most cookbooks.

Monday, July 06, 2009


MojaMix is a custom, build-your-own cereal. You pick a base then other ingredients like dried fruit, nuts and seeds to mix in. It is a lot of fun and while it is more expensive than say buying a box of cereal at the grocery store it is super fresh and of course, since you picked everything out yourself, you are bound to like it! I do think that if you were to source all of your ingredients individually it would come out to much more than what a bag of MojaMix costs. The costs of the custom mixes vary, the fewer ingredients the cheaper it is and some of the add-ins are cheaper than others.

I made a cereal with the coconut crisp base (oat flakes, barley flakes, coconut flakes and rice crispies) and added figs, goji berries, goldenberries, cacao nibs and coconut chips. You can customize the name and label of your cereal. You can reorder the same mix again by entering an unique code at the website so you don't have to create it from scratch each time. The website is very easy to use and you can add and remove items from your cereal at will. The only issue I had with the site was that only place I could find to enter the code to reorder your custom cereal is on the FAQ page which doesn't make much sense. You would think that it would be right on the front page or where you start to choose your mix but it isn't. There also doesn't appear to be log in where you could keep track of your orders or save your payment information. But while the website is a little clunky, it is easy to choose and order your cereal and the product itself is great.