H-1

A new grocery store opens in downtown Cleveland this morning. But this family-run business is more than a grocery store. It’s more like a food cathedral. The above iPhone photo, shot early this week as cases were being filled, attests to that. But the simile goes beyond architecture. This grocery store, perhaps among the most humble-seeming of businesses, is a symbol of this once moribund city’s recent growth. Downtown Cleveland is now a desirable place to live (apparently it’s at 95% capacity). We’ve long known it’s a desirable place to eat. Astonishingly, it’s made significant lists of must-see destinations (Travel+Leisure, Fodor’s, even the LA Times). Also it’s my hometown and I care for it the way one does a cherished mutt: with devotion and pity and deep love, for all its good and bad. (See this hilarious tourism Read On »

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Wheat-X2-for-blog

I want to call attention to an op-ed by Mark Bittman in the New York Times last week, headlined “What Is the Purpose of Society?” because it’s particularly incisive. He rightly asks us to reconsider how we think about the production and distribution of our food. He calls on us to ask the right questions: What is the purpose of agriculture? And he asks that we come to a common agreement on what that purpose is. He writes: “… [I]s contemporary American agriculture a system for nourishing people and providing a livelihood for farmers? Or is it one for denuding the nation’s topsoil while poisoning land, water, workers and consumers and enriching corporations? Our collective actions would indicate that our principles favor the latter; that has to change. “…[i]f we had a national agreement that food Read On »

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2x-Farm-photos

The following post by my fellow writer and former neighbor, Kristin Ohlson, is in honor of World Soil Day. Kristin argues in her excellent book, The Soil Will Save Us, how important it is to think of our soil as a living thing, which it is—healthy soil teems with life. She compares it to a coral reef in her book, and rightly so, as she elaborates in this short post.—M.R.   by Kristin Ohlson I was visiting a friend in New Jersey’s bucolic countryside—no, not an oxymoron. Knowing my fondness for farms, he took me down the road to visit Bobby, the man who sells him eggs. We soon stood on a windy hilltop near Bobby’s home, surrounded by fields in which feathery green lines of wheat radiated into the distance separated by bare lanes of Read On »

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Potato-blog

Beware the cancer lurking within these harmless-looking spuds/iPhoto by Donna The New York Times recently called my attention to the USDA approval of a new genetically modified potato intended to reduce cancer by eliminating acrylamide. What is acrylamide? Here’s a link with lots of other links. It causes cancer in rats and therefore, maybe, in humans? We don’t know for certain. In one of these links a scientist guessed that 3,000 people a year get cancer from acrylamide, though on what he based his guess is, well, anybody’s guess. Here’s a headline I’d like to see in The Onion: Scientist Working to Extinguish Sun in Bold Effort to Eradicate Some Skin Cancers. And here’s my rant line: We fuck with our food at our own peril. The Times dutifully quoted people on both sides of the issue. Doug Read On »

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photo by donna turner ruhlman

Last spring, having damaged my knee, I called for an appointment to visit the doc. My usual internist was gone and so, providentially, his colleague Roxanne Sukol saw me. I say providentially because she has a great interest in how this country eats and in helping Americans become better informed amid so much contradictory information and harmful marketing in the media. Dr. Sukol, who knew my work, launched almost immediately into descriptions of stripped carbs and insulin levels and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, emphasizing that our national discussion should stop talking “healthy eating” and start talking “nutritious eating.” She positively captivated me. As she attended to my knee, I asked to meet with her at a later date and subsequently wrote a short blog post about our conversation. “WE are HEALTHY,” she told me, Read On »

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