13 February 2010

Week-End Wreckage, Part III

Some new (to me) local food blogs: Karen, who writes for Maine Loves Food, wrote in to mention her food blog, Mignardise, which is nice. Judging from her blog's facebook page, everyone knew about her but me. Also, local (Peak's) author Catherynne Valente has started posting occasional restaurant reviews on her livejournal. She kicks things off with a review of Paciarino. Her latest book, Palimpsest, was the best by far of any book I read last year. Sadly, she totally pans Paciarino, partly for reasons I understand but nonethless I have a real soft spot for the place and I feel pretty sad she didn't enjoy her lunch there.

Jamie Oliver won a TED Prize and gave a terrific speech at this year's TED conference on food and obesity in America. He's a bit over-excited and over-anxious in the presentation, and there is much he says that one must take on faith (although it's hard not to at this point), but it is definitely worth the eighteen minutes to watch it.

As for the best book I've read this year (so far), it's definitely Novella Carpenter's Farm City.

Carpenter started and now runs a small farm in a ghetto in Oakland, California, by squatting on land adjacent to her apartment. [I used to stay at a friend's apartment just half a mile from where her farm is now located, and, yeah, it wasn't exactly a safe place.] The book is divided into three parts, each detailing her efforts to raise a different animal—turkeys, rabbits and pigs. But beyond the immediate story of her urban farming amidst drive by shootings, which is engrossing enough, she takes up an interesting issue in each of the three parts: things like the fate of the 1970s back to the land movement by her (and my) parent's generation and the relevance of that fate with respect to the growing interest in urban farming in America. It's brilliantly literate from the first sentence and just excellently written throughout. I'm really sad now that I missed the signing at Rabelais Books. Hey Rabelais, do you have any signed copies? I had to get this by interlibrary loan and I think I'd like to own it.


Kate. said...

I saw Novella at Rabelais and the I waited forever for her book to come in from the library, and I LOVED it. She is so funny, I laughed out loud a lot, and then was sad when it was over. I told everyone about it. Kinda makes you want to move to Oakland, doesn't it?

Brad said...

Yeah, it was really great. She writes really well on every level. As for moving to Oakland, NO! I've lived there and it was nerve wracking. I used to spend a lot of time couch surfing at an apartment just a few blocks from where she started "Ghost Town Farm." One night a stray bullet flew through the apartment next to us and killed some little kid. It was really tragic and not exactly an uncommon occurrence. I don't know what it's like now, but I can't imagine raising chickens there!