Sunday, May 29, 2011

Goodbye Food Pyramid, Hello Dinner Plate


Check out this New York Times article on the change from the USDA's Food Pyramid to the Great Plate.

The Obama administration is about to ditch the food pyramid, that symbol of healthy eating for the last two decades. In its place officials are dishing up a simple, plate-shaped symbol, sliced into wedges for the basic food groups and half-filled with fruits and vegetables.

The circular plate, which will be unveiled Thursday (May 26), is meant to give consumers a fast, easily grasped reminder of the basics of a healthy diet. It consists of four colored sections, for fruits, vegetables, grains and protein, according to several people who have been briefed on the change. Beside the plate is a smaller circle for dairy, suggesting a glass of low-fat milk or perhaps a yogurt cup.   READ MORE

And, here is an excerpt from article on the Great Plate published by the University of Michigan:

The Great Plate concept is designed to be an easy way to control portion sizes and create a healthier meal, simply by dividing a 10-inch size plate into three sections.
  • Half of the plate is filled with non-starchy vegetables such as green beans, tossed salad or carrots.
  • A quarter is filled with lean protein such as skinless chicken, non-fried fish, tofu or lean cuts of beef or pork.
  • And the final quarter is filled with whole grains or starchy vegetables such as whole wheat bread, pasta, rice, corn, peas or potatoes. 
  • There are also recommendations for food categories that are not always present in every meal such as fats and fruits.

The "Great Plate" also addresses one of the biggest challenges people face when it comes to eating healthier—understanding portion sizes. Most don't realize that portions have changed dramatically over the last two decades. What we think is one serving is, in actuality, closer to two or even three servings.  For example, 25 years ago, your average bagel had a three-inch diameter and contained 140 calories; today, the average bagel has a six-inch diameter and is 350 calories. Your average order of French fries was 2.4 ounces and 210 calories 25 years ago, but today it is 6.9 ounces and 610 calories. READ MORE

According to the New York Times article:

"The food pyramid has a long and tangled history. Its original version showed a hierarchy of foods, with those that made up the largest portions of a recommended diet, like grains, fruit and vegetables, closest to the wide base. Foods that were to be eaten in smaller quantities, like dairy and meat, were closer to the pyramid’s tapering top.
"But the pyramid’s original release was held back over complaints from the meat and dairy industry that their products were being stigmatized. It was released with minor changes in 1992.
"A revised pyramid was released in 2005. Called MyPyramid, it turned the old hierarchy on its side, with vertical brightly colored strips standing in for the different food groups. It also showed a stick figure running up the side to emphasize the need for exercise."



Saturday, May 28, 2011

Video-rama

 As part of my mission for going to Africa last November, I talked with study abroad students in Nairobi, Kenya, and then made videos for the Kalamazoo College Center for International Programs.

Here are the videos.

Why We Chose Kenya for Study Abroad -- with Zack, Emily, Saskia, Amelia
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3Xfos9Wgaw


Matatus and Tea -- with Megan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmFMyjKb8Rs


On Being White in Kenya
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06tIcL1jcuI


Self-Discovery and Growth -- Mims, Megan, Saskia
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1uwt40XqWI


Making New Friendships on Study Abroad
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJLvVYGFXys


Kenya Program Curriculum -- with Lillian Owiti
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uReSoSpWj5c


Curriculum Support -- with Roseanne
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxv_lmfBW28


Founder of Kenya Study Abroad Program -- with Judith Bahemuka
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jxh2riNUpOc



Professors' Impressions of K Students
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1qhwRLbs_Y


ICRP -- with Emily, Amelia, Saskia
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfpOPaM-aXo


A Take on Kenya -- with Mims and Megan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTi1HjzxqDk


Another Take on Kenya -- with Saskia
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxR-4Wi2m0g


Homestay -- with Saskia
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xih8DqvsA2g


Food, Health & Safety -- with Saskia
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyxhlHyY5rw


Meet Homestay Parents, Part I -- with Joe and Rose Ngatiaris
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E87zwk--cuk




Meet Homestay Parents, Part II -- with Joe and Rose Ngatiaris
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NFSmX9ZLLM



Our K College Sister -- with Saskia and Nicole
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuXawGXqsWw

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cast Off!

Today ended my seven-week "inconvenience" of having a cast heal my broken arm!

Of course, I had to celebrate.  My doctor, Mary Vajgrt, MD, was on hand for the celebration and took these photos of the process as Lisa took off the cast.  My thanks to the staff at the Kalamazoo Orthopaedic Clinic of Borgess Medical Center.  They were all helpful, professional, efficient and caring.


Let the cutting begin!  With Lisa's help, my 7-week ordeal is about to be over.

The saw does not hurt the skin

Wedging the thing apart

Snipping apart the cloth material underneath

Pulling it apart--and taking it off

































 Then I took these photos with my good hand:

Free at last!
What's left of the cast--sans arm
Another view of cast that healed my arm


For the next four week I wear a removable brace and perform various exercises to strengthen the muscles in my arm.  Can't wait to ride my bike and swim!  

Reflections on My Broken Arm


After seven long weeks of being in a cast for my broken arm, the doctors finally gave me the go-ahead to remove my cast.

This has been an interesting time.  It is my first broken arm, which occurred while I was cleaning the baby goats’ stall at Windshadow Farm.  If I had landed in the compost, I probably would have broken my fall instead of my arm.  Alas, the concrete floor was too much for my left hand to bear all my weight and the radius in my arm cracked.  Fortunately, the break did not ruin the bone’s alignment and it healed fairly well, fairly quickly, and without complications.

I learned to write with my right hand and became pretty good at it, too.  Writing on the blackboard at school worked out pretty well, too.  It was big and bold and students could read it!  I was even able to make comments on students’ papers, although they were more laconic than usual and my work on the papers went a lot more slowly.

I tried to derive some meaning from my handicap.  As a writer, I was not able to take notes so that meant my work with the Gazette was on hold.  However, I soon learned how to write journal entries by using the middle finger of my left hand and all the fingers of my right hand.  One time I took notes over the phone for a story in this way and was amazed at my proficiency.  It just goes to show that the human body adapts to its circumstances pretty quickly and efficiently.

I read more books, a decided upside, but watched more TV (i.e., Netflix films and documentaries), more of a downside because of time wasted.  I became intrigued for some odd reason, with the marriage of William and Kate and that then led me to explore further the British monarchy.  I watched “The Tudors” on Netflix, which later led me to a re-visiting of “Man for All Seasons,” “Queen,” “Elizabeth R” and others.  Then I found the series “Commander in Chief” starring Geena Davis as POTUS.

What I realized from these many weeks without the ability to write is that my life had a big hole in it.  Although writing is often a painful thing for me to do, it indeed is something I have to do because it sustains me, satisfies my curiosity, and gives me that ever-loving byline.  This summer I am looking forward to getting myself into a writing routine—along with a much-needed exercise routine. 

Exercise – !@#$%^&* Hmmmmm.  I had planned to ride my bike to school and around town beginning this spring but that was not possible without the strength of my left arm.  I had lost my zest for swimming around January and walking in colder weather had no appeal.  Of course, I could not do any yoga either.  So over these past six months I have gotten practically no exercise—and I feel it.  And my body feels it and looks like it! 

Spending much time on the farm was out, too, although I did help out Ron a little bit, which he needed since he not only had broken his hand on the same day I broke my arm, but he had hernia surgery and was restricted from doing a lot of the heavy lifting.  His wife, Soo, and his neighbors pitched in to help him.  In the midst of all these injuries was the USDA’s approval process for Grade A status of the dairy, the growth of this year’s kids, milking the goats, and making decisions about culling the herd.  The water buffalo will soon give birth to their offspring.  And, of course, cleaning the barn is a daily task.

This Memorial Day weekend marks the end of school (almost) and the beginning of summer.  My plan is to get back to full-time writing, more vigorous exercise (walking, biking and swimming) and indulge myself in gardening and farming—about two days a week.  I have numerous articles coming up for July 1— including a story on the spirituality of urban gardens for U.S. Catholic, the 40th anniversary of Lake Village Farm for the Gazette, an article on Ultimate Frisbee for Lux Esto (Kalamazoo College’s alumni magazine) and two book reviews—one for America magazine and the other for Energy Bulletin.  All of this will certainly keep me busy.  Most of these articles were requested by the editors, which is really gratifying because it means they like what I do.

One other project I want to get started is to put my essays into book form and make them available through the Internet.  I also need a new website and fortunately, ace graphic artist, Keith Jones, will help me do that. 

I don’t think I’ll do much traveling this summer or my trips will be short and not very exotic.  Anita, my next door neighbor, and I will go to a Cubs game in early June.  Kurt and I will make our annual Stratford trip, most probably in September.  I’ll take a train ride to the East to see my nephew, Kevin, and maybe a couple of former students in Connecticut and New York City.

In October I go to New Orleans with the McClurkans.  This will be my third visit in two years!  It will give me an opportunity not only to see this wonderful city again but to investigate what the churches are doing with post-Katrina recovery.  I plan to include this other angle with my research on urban planning and food security for I book I’m writing. 

So this “layover” from writing has given me many ideas for more work.  Now it’s time to get to work!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Travelogue: Chicago Architecture Foundation Historic Skyscaper Tour

In front of "The Bean" in Millennium Park with El in a Chicago Bulls headpiece and Daisy with a flower made by the Balloon Lady

Only two students took advantage of the class field trip to Chicago today, which was part of the geography class:  Daisy Villa and Elvin (El) Caldwell, who drove. 

We met a 8 a.m., which was when I learned that two other students scheduled for the trip had to cancel at the last minute due to illness.  So we started our 2.5-hour journey westbound down I-94 to Chicago.  The students wanted to hear rock music on the radio and I was fine with that.  Once a month I take care of a 14-year-old girl who likes these stations so not only was I used to the music, but I was familiar with some of it!  Of course, that surprised the students—and me, too.

Daisy, who is from Los Angeles, was quite taken by the drive.  She is used to total development in her area and the city sits in desert lands.  So the greenery and open spaces that El and I take for granted, were a pleasant surprise to Daisy.  Traveling with people from other places really helps put what you are used to seeing in perspective. 

As we drove through Gary, Indiana, I informed them about how this area used to be filled with smoke from the steel plants.  Now the plants lie idle.

“This is what the Rust Belt looks like,” I said. 

As we drove over the Skyway, I also pointed out to them how close together the houses were in the industrial towns below.  They were utterly amazed.  Also, as we neared the city, we could all feel the anticipation of it, like we were about to encounter “the beast,” as I called it.  Soon we sighted the city's skyline around the bend of Lake Michigan.  What a dramatic entrance to this great city.  It's almost like a dream!

As we exited the freeway and approached the tall buildings, our excitement mounted.  The parklands around the University of Chicago are indeed impressive and once again Daisy noted this quality as something she is not used to seeing in LA.  The lake was beautiful as this large body of water at the city's edge makes for a dramatic sight, especially as we saw the tall buildings grow larger as we drove closer to them.  You just feel the city's greatness as you enter it.  I, who have been here many times, can still appreciate this approach to the city.  I feel my heart jump with excitement every time whether I’m in a car or on a train.

We arrived in the big city safely with just eight minutes to spare before our tour of the historic skyscrapers was to begin.  This tour is one of over 100 tours put on by the Chicago Architectural Foundation, which is strategically located right across the street from the Chicago Art Institute.

We parked in the underground Grant Park Garage on Michigan Ave but had difficulty finding an exit so we walked out on the driveway.

Model of the city at the Chicago Architecture Foundation
“This is unsafe,” said Daisy.

“I know,” I answered, “but I can't find the stairway or the pedestrian walkway and we'll be late for the tour if we don't go this way.”

Thankfully, we escaped the garage without incident and made it to our tour just in time.  Actually, there were so many people for this tour that we were split up into three groups with a docent leading each group.

As we went through the tour, I took photos (since neither Daisy nor El had a camera).  The Architecture Foundation now provides earphones to each participant to make it easier to hear the docent's excellent history of Chicago architecture.  What was really exciting for the students was to recognize the various parts of the buildings.  We had just studied a bit of architecture in class!  They'd knock each other on the arm and smile broadly at me.  I felt as though I had accomplished something in my teaching!  Their other big revelation on this tour was that the lobbies of the buildings gave them an understanding of how attention to detail brings out the beauty in the built environment.  They were dazzled by the fine artwork exercised on the buildings—and I was excited that they recognized it!    

Juxtaposition of new "Sears Tower" with an historic skyscraper
Sculptures on Board of Trade Building

Our docent explains the renovation of an historic skyscraper with the El in the background

Lobby of Roosevelt University
Elegant entrance of Fisher Building




Santa Fe Building where Daniel Burnham designed the "new Chicago"













Rounded bay window of a building needing renovation






After our tour we consulted the docent for some suggestions of a place to eat.  El mentioned the Billy Goat Tavern and the docent affirmed our choice and directed us to its location.  We made our way north toward the Chicago River but on our way stopped in Millennium Park to check out “the Bean” as well Crown Fountain—two outstanding must-sees.  We got as close to it as we could so we could feel the mist, as Daisy suggested.  Different faces appear on Crown Fountain and it is so funky that it's difficult to take your eyes off of it.

Our reflection at the Cloudgate "the Bean" sculpture
Traveling with students is a particularly wonderful experience because their curiosity drives the journey.  For this I was grateful.  They wanted to get close to Anish Kapoor's Cloudgate sculpture, a.k.a. “the Bean,” in order to see themselves in it.  So crazy a thing it is in the way the bends of the object reflected our images.  I'm not necessarily one for kooky modern art objects but this one is a definite exception—and it is exceptional!  We also looked at the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion, an outdoor auditorium, and marveled at its construction, as odd as it is.  I'd really like to attend a concert here someday because it's really made for acoustics and I'm sure performers' offerings are greatly enhanced by them.  It would likely be an experience of untold proportions!

Millennium Park is now a Chicago landmark although it is less than ten years old.  Completed in July 2004, construction began in the late 1990's over what was once an unused railyard—and an eyesore. 

Posing with the Crown Fountain
We walked north and took note of the architecture of the buildings.  When we reached the river, I told the students to prepare themselves for a unique adventure in crossing the bridge.  You automatically assume such structures are safe and you can see people crossing.  However, as you walk over the heavy metal you can feel it bounce as cars cross over it.  It is also a little unnerving when you look through the grating of the roadway and see the dark green water below. 

The bridge is also the site of old Fort Dearborn, which was constructed by early settlers as a shelter and a defense against the native peoples who lived there.  You can see a pictorial history of the founding of Chicago in the various relief works on the bridge. 

Once we crossed the river we made our way to the Billy Goat Tavern, which is a bit hidden.  After picking out a native Chicagoan who could direct us, we found our way to the tavern by going down the stairs on the north side of the bridge.  It was the only shop in the area, so you can't miss it. 

The World Famous Billy Goat Tavern, a Chicago legend since 1934, has a motto:

"Cheezborger! Cheezborger!
No fries, cheeps! No Pepsi, Coke!"?

Upon entering the bar, our host from behind the counter yelled at us to get in line and give our order.

“A hamburger, please” said El.

“You don't want that,” said the order taker with the big black mustache and a paper hat that advertised the bar, “you want a double hamborger.”

“OK,” said El.  “I'm easy.”

“Do you have french fries?” he asked.

“No, you want potato chips.  Plain or BBQ?”

The order taker then seemed to speak to Daisy in Spanish but when she gave her order in Spanish he couldn't continue with the conversation very well.  We eventually asked one of the staff circulating the bar what nationality this place was and found out it was Greek.

We each ordered a double “hamborger”, chips and soft drink as we watched the Chicago White Sox kick the stuffing out of the LA Dodgers on the TV that was on our side of the bar.  A NY Mets and NY Yankees game was in the other corner of the room only the sound was muted so as to let people hear how the home team's game was going.

It had been a long day, which started out at 8 a.m. (EDT) and included a 2.5-hour drive to Chicago, a two-hour walking tour, and a one-hour walk around Millennium Park and north over the river to Billy’s.  So we savored our lunch, watched a bit of the Sox baseball game, and talked with each other for maybe an hour.  We interacted with the wait staff and eventually discovered we could get free refills on our drink, which we all took.  I would highly recommend this place both for its “hamborger” as well as the experience. 

I took photos in case I get a spot on the Food Channel and later learned who the owner was:  an old Greek man.  While I didn't have any paper for an interview with him—or time, since I was with the students—this place is the type of place to return to for a report, say for the Food Channel.  It’s bizarre, simple, and fun....the kind of place you’d want to go for a cold one.  It was obvious that the Billy Goat Tavern is popular as the doors of the entrance keep swinging open with more customers.  We even saw a small food tour group come through!  That's a good sign that we had met “the real Chicago” in a place that the locals patronize.  Later we learned that journalists from the Chicago Tribune have made Billy’s a hangout for years.  I knew there was something about it I liked!

After our lunch I thought we would head home but El and Daisy were up for some more time in the city, this time by the lakeside.  We walked over the bridge again, took some photos, and finally found a pathway to the lake as we followed the crowd of local residents who were likewise intending to spend some time there on this sunny, hot, but pleasant day.  (The weather report had predicted thundershowers, but fortunately, they were nowhere in sight.)

On our way to the lake the students recognized the tremendous heat sink of the city but soon found out how a small, green parkway cooled us down.  We retreated there for some heat relief.  The shadows of the tall skyscrapers also helped make the air cooler.  I mentioned that Chicago is trying to do something about this unbearable heat by planting roof gardens, and that this, too, was a project of the visionary Mayor Richard Daley during his 20-year administration that included much renovation and revitalization of the city.  While he remained a controversial figure in his methods, he did make his mark in beautifying and updating the city that we—and a multitude of visitors and residents—enjoy.

Cancer survivors memorial with Field Museum in background


 Then we came upon the northern section of Millennium Park that was dedicated to cancer survivors.  I don't think I've ever seen such a piece of public space.  El noticed that the center path of the memorial led straight south to the front portico of the Field Museum.  How well thought out that was in planning out this part of the city, especially since we were in the midst of some pretty awesome and pretty high skyscrapers that could have obscured the view.  That’s one good thing about a city on a grid!

Daisy and El on Lake Michigan shoreline.






Finally, we found the entrance to the lakeside park and found a spot on one of the full-bloom and deliciously pink cherry trees.  This section was part of the marina with several sailboats anchored in the water, so we looked at them as we talked.  Occasionally, a boat would travel the waters.  We also watched people as they walked the sidewalk or biked or trotted or roller-skated past us.  And we sat there for another 60 to 90 minutes just talking on subjects that covered the gamut of our human experience.  Most enjoyable, relaxing, and a unique experience for me to spend that much time with K students.  This time with El and Daisy could only be rivaled by last year's excursion with my First Year Seminar students when we spent the day on the other side of this lake in South Haven.  Such precious moments.  As we left I made note of our spot so that when I visit here again sometime in the future I can recall this marvelous day.  (I would find it two weeks later while I was on a bus trip to a Chicago Cubs game!)

Suddenly, around 4 pm the air began to change.  It felt like a storm was coming.  I suggested we return to the car and head home.  Fortunately, we were not that far from the garage, however, looking for an entrance to the underground structure was not easy.  While we were in the cool underground structure, we missed our turn to the garage and ended up near the tracks of the intra-city trains.  The maps on the wall were of no help so we had to navigate by intuition.  Fortunately, we found a door that led us to the section of the lot right where our car was parked. 

Once we got above ground on Michigan Avenue, it was apparent that many other people were heading out of the city, too, and I feared we'd be caught in a real live Chicago traffic jam.  As El concentrated on traffic, I concentrated on signage and attempted to skirt the congestion.  Once again, the Chicago grid helped us out as we zigzagged away from the traffic.  Although I was edgy about correctly leading us out of “the beast,” El maintained a cool head in getting us through it all. 

After about an hour of travel east on I-94, lightening and thunder began to rage outside our car.  It was only 5 p.m. but the cloud cover made it look like dusk.  This was a bit unsettling to Daisy who is not used to such natural displays in LA.  Must be lake effect, I said, just as all weather patterns in this area are blamed.  Nevertheless, I am reminded of how large our country is and how diverse our climatic regions are!  Eventually it began to rain, but luckily it was steady and easy for El to drive through—until we got closer to Kalamazoo.  That’s when it started to pour.  We exited the freeway about 7:30 and as we drove down Oakland Drive, we saw the damage a storm had done.  Several tree limbs had been downed undoubtedly by lightening.  And, just before we made our turn on Lovell part of an old tree had been felled by some pretty vicious lightening.  The tree covered half of the road and El had to steer around it.

During our car ride back to Kalamazoo, we listened to rock music on the radio.  El would change the stations unless an oldie came up and bid me to start singing.  On our way back Daisy was exhausted and stretched out on the back seat, she snoozed a bit as the music came through her ear buds.  Sleeping also helped her get through the disturbing lightning.  El and I talked through most of the trip home, which was uneventful except for one traffic slowdown and, of course, the thunder and lightening show. 

Inside the Santa Fe Building where the Chicago Architecture Foundation resides with the majestic marble beaux artes staircase.
We pulled into Kalamazoo just before 8 p.m. and filled up the gas tank of our college-owned car.  We dropped off Daisy at Chrissy Hall.  El and I returned the car to FacMan and I drove him home to his house on Stanwood, just a block away from campus.  I was exhausted but satisfied with this wonderful trip.  I also made it home in time for a snack, an email look-see and my favorite TV show, “Army Wives.”

We had all had a wonderful time and expressed this to each other several times.  Travel is a good thing to do.  And, when it is done with K students, it frequently turns out to be the best of experiences.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review: Basics with a Twist by Kim Sanwald


I’m not one for cookbooks but Basics with a Twist by Kim Sanwald has truly inspired me to transform my own cooking with the same zeal and enthusiasm as Julie had when she went through Julia Child’s classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

I buy local and organic food as much as possible, but find that not only do I have to force myself to eat vegetables, but I lack enough ways to cook them besides the handy but boring steaming and stir frying.  Many farmers market patrons and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members have a similar problem.  Sanwald’s book is just for us! 

As a truck farmer at Brickyard Farms in southwestern Michigan, Sanwald and her partner, Valerie Lane, grow 17 varieties of tomatoes, seven varieties of potatoes, hard garlic, three varieties of beets, seven varieties of carrots as well as different greens including collards, kale, Swiss chard, spinach. 

The five-and-a-half acre farm’s success is attributable to the production of fresh, flavorful vegetables grown in good clay soil that has “some amazing minerals” to enhance their “shocking taste.”  This is all done without chemicals or sprays, although the farm is not certified organic.

Last year Sanwald and Lane grew 4,800 tomatoes from 1500 plants, and from 650 seed potatoes, they harvested 7,000 pounds.  Their market customers couldn’t get enough!

In the book Sanwald takes readers through the growing season by focusing on the farm’s most popular vegetables:  garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and beets.  She provides tried and true recipes for salads, soups, stews, sauces, dressings, casseroles, and side dishes that go well with various meats.  They make your mouth water just reading them!

Kim Sanwald


But the book is more than a cookbook.  It is also a memoir of Sanwald’s complete change of life after 36 years as a manager of a dental office in the city to become a truck farmer in rural Cloverdale.

Sanwald first started working on the farm in 2007 when she and a group of friends came to Lane’s aid after her partner, Cate Burke, had died unexpectedly from a blood clot at age 46.  Lane had purchased the farm in 2001 after leaving a career as a building and remodeling contractor. 

Being close to the land and close to her source of food awakened something in Sanwald despite the fact that the work is hard and dirty and the days are long.

One day as she was harvesting kale she suddenly broke down in tears realizing that she was connecting to the earth in a deeply spiritual way. 

“I’m home,” she said.  “I felt like I had arrived.”

Doing what others encouraged or expected her to do had made her unhappy and depressed through most of her life.  She found happiness, however, by growing food.  Today, she said she rejects hair coloring, make-up and stylish clothes, things that once held great importance for her.  And, she has reduced her weight by 30 pounds and 2 dress sizes.  

“I feel better,” she said, “and the better I feel, the more I want to do this work.”

Basics with a Twist shows readers what can happen to a person through greater attention to food.  Ever the cook, Sanwald expresses her appreciation for the aesthetic pleasures of food that is flavorful, healthy, homegrown, home-cooked—and shared with others around a table.

It took Sanwald took two years to write the book and six more months to prepare it for publication.  The whole project came about because she found herself giving out hundreds of recipes to customers at the Fulton Street Farmers Market in Grand Rapids where Brickyard Farms is a vendor.  Lane suggested she put the recipes together in a book, however, Sanwald was anxious to write about what her new life as a truck farmer meant to her.

“The book is a validation of who we are and who I am,” she said.  “I love to write and cook.  It’s my creative outlet and this book stretched me and my learning process.  By combining both of these things, I am able to help others as well.”

She has plans to write a second book that encourages people to grow their own gardens.

The book also includes a resource list for people looking for information about self-sustaining and organic methods of farming and gardening as well as commentaries on the local food movement and environmental issues. 

Basics with a Twist is available for purchase at the Brickyard Farms website and Amazon.

For more information about the book, see the book's website.    



Monday, May 9, 2011

Kurt Cobb Interviewed on Cable News



Last week Kurt Cobb had his first television interview aired since his novel, Prelude, was launched.   

Max Keiser, a well-known financial news talk show host from Europe, asked him about world oil supplies, Prelude (his novel on peak oil), global credit conditions and many other topics.

The 25-minute interview comes in 2 parts and you can access it through Kurt's blog, Resource Insights

You can access the novel's website, too.