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good stuff (as usual) from Michael Pollan

If you’re not on his mailing list (and it’s worthwhile and very low volume), you might not have heard about this: he answers questions (and is accepting more questions) at the New York Times. It’s http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/10/02/magazine/29mag-food-issue.html?ref=magazine&ref=magazine#/pollan

If you ever have the chance to hear him speak live, it’s well worth the effort to get there. He’s a good speaker with a real depth of knowledge about food issues, and he’s very funny, so the whole affair doesn’t have the potentially pious tone it could have when talking about all the food issues. He’s also willing and able to say that he doesn’t know the answers to questions, which is itself refreshing.

Chacarero

It’s a restaurant in downtown Boston. It used to be a sandwich stand in downtown Boston. Their sandwiches are really good.

Back in the day, the line for their stand might have lots and lots of people in it for much of lunchtime (hence the restaurant now), while other nearby places had few customers. There was a reason. A friend of mine introduced me to them and explained that their secret ingredient is love. I don’t know if that’s what it is, but whatever it, it’s working.

Chacarero
101 Arch Street
Boston
617.542.0392

 

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA)

I regularly receive mail from and sign petitions or write letters at the behest of the Organic Consumers Association, so I wanted to give them a little more publicity. Their mission is pretty broad, so if you go to their web site, you’ll have a lot to look at and perhaps do. One of their biggest projects is taking on Monsanto, always a daunting task, but the success of reducing the amount of rBGH in the food supply is heartening (as mentioned here). Some of their content is a little too diatribe-y for me; maybe it helps sway some opinions.

Diet for a Poisoned Planet

I wanted to mention this book because it’s an incredibly useful resource and not very well known. It talks about lots of different kinds of foods and rates their relative safety. It’s eye-opening, off-putting, and really good to have around. The original edition is from 1990, and there’s an updated version from 2006 (“The Twenty-first Century Edition”).

It was one of the first food books that caught my eye, along with Fast Food Nation. I first read about it in Toxic Sludge is Good for You (a book about PR and marketing), and the story about it told there is just as shocking as the book itself.

The places to hear from me:

Food – josh lubarr food stuff
Geekiness – geekiness(josh lubarr)
Movies – Old Movies and New with Josh Lubarr
Politics – Progressive Politics (per Josh Lubarr)
Silliness and comedy – Le Repository du Silliness, avec Josh Lubarr

Arax Market

After my brief imploring regarding the whipped garlic and olive oil, here’s more detail.

This place has many things to recommend it. My favorites are the stuffed grape leaves and, of course, the whipped garlic and olive oil; these alone are worth the trip. Of course they have good felafel, hummus, and baba ganoush, as well as many other such items. They also have interesting cheese and various kinds of sausage. Plus, there’s an olive bar. They also have various kinds of coffee and smoking accoutrements, which look nice even if you’re just going to use them to decorate.

They have a couple of parking spaces in the back, which can sometimes be very helpful.

Arax Market
585 Mount Auburn St
Watertown, MA 02472
(617) 924-3399

The places to hear from me:

Food – josh lubarr food stuff
Geekiness – geekiness(josh lubarr)
Movies – Old Movies and New with Josh Lubarr
Politics – Progressive Politics (per Josh Lubarr)
Silliness and comedy – Le Repository du Silliness, avec Josh Lubarr

Cobb salads in DC

There’s not too much to say about this, but they really like their Cobb salads in Washington DC. When I was there recently, they had them in almost every restaurant.

In case hearing about Washington DC makes you think of history, check out this recipe’s history of the Cobb salad.

The places to hear from me:

Food – josh lubarr food stuff
Geekiness – geekiness(josh lubarr)
Movies – Old Movies and New with Josh Lubarr
Politics – Progressive Politics (per Josh Lubarr)
Silliness and comedy – Le Repository du Silliness, avec Josh Lubarr

Saw this recently and really liked it

It’s here, but I don’t want to give away the store before you look.

The places to hear from me:
Food – josh lubarr food stuff
Geekiness – geekiness(josh lubarr)
Movies – Old Movies and New with Josh Lubarr
Politics – Progressive Politics (per Josh Lubarr)
Silliness and comedy – Le Repository du Silliness, avec Josh Lubarr

Mary Chung restaurant, Cambridge

Mary Chung is the other of my favorite Chinese restaurants in the Boston area (along with King Fung Garden 2). My favorite things there are:

– Suan La Chow Show
– Dan Dan Noodles with Chicken
– Peking Ravioli
– Kung Pao Fish
– General Gao’s Chicken

They’re closed on Tuesdays.

The places to hear from me:
Food – josh lubarr food stuff
Geekiness – geekiness(josh lubarr)
Movies – Old Movies and New with Josh Lubarr
Places in the real world – Good Things around Boston (according to Josh Lubarr)
Politics – Progressive Politics (per Josh Lubarr)
Silliness and comedy – Le Repository du Silliness, avec Josh Lubarr

Whipped Garlic and Olive Oil from Arax Market in Watertown

There isn’t much to say about this. Go there, get some, and eat it. It’s good with anything. It’s good on its own. Go ahead and don’t believe me — you’ll see.

Arax also has lots of other delicious foods. I especially love their grape leaves. Plus, it’s fun.

Go!

Edit: more details here.

Cross-posted at Good Things Around Boston.

The places to hear from me:
Food – josh lubarr food stuff
Geekiness – geekiness(josh lubarr)
Movies – Old Movies and New with Josh Lubarr
Places in the real world – Good Things around Boston (according to Josh Lubarr)
Politics – Progressive Politics (per Josh Lubarr)
Silliness and comedy – Le Repository du Silliness, avec Josh Lubarr

A few thoughts on “Genetic Roulette” by Jeffrey M. Smith

I’ve spent a little time looking at Jeffrey M. Smith’s book, Genetic Roulette, subtitled “The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods,” and it’s pretty strong stuff. It compiles information about studies that indicate dangers of genetically engineered foods (and, for some, how they were buried); how regulation of GE foods is insufficient; how the industry’s studies are not adequate; and how the underlying arguments for GE crops are themselves flawed. The main use of this book would be to deflate any arguments that GE foods are safe. I have a hard time envisioning any argument that you couldn’t puncture with some data from here. The book’s purpose is not to help consumers avoid GE foods, but it does have some useful information for that as well in its appendix; for example, 89% of American-grown soy is genetically engineered — if that isn’t a fact to increase organic soy sales, I don’t know what is.

The places to hear from me:
Food – josh lubarr food stuff
Geekiness – geekiness(josh lubarr)
Movies – Old Movies and New with Josh Lubarr
Places in the real world – Good Things around Boston (according to Josh Lubarr)
Politics – Progressive Politics (per Josh Lubarr)
Silliness and comedy – Le Repository du Silliness, avec Josh Lubarr