February 13, 2010
The Slow Cook began as a journal to record our efforts to feed our family by turning our front yard in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Northwest Washington, DC–about a mile from the White House–into a vegetable garden. We have succeeded beyond our expectations–everything from fava beans, snap peas and salad greens in the spring, to bushels of tomatoes, okra and green beans in the summer. Sometimes we even remember to erect a “tunnel” in the garden in fall so that we can enjoy fresh greens throughout the winter. We are big fans of pickles and preserved foods, so we fill our pantry with those, too.
Being a former newspaper reporter, I still have a bit of the news hound in me, so from time to time I detour from chronicling our garden adventures into more substantive issues such as the local food movement, sustainability, the school food debacle, and even the fate of planet earth. We have reached a point where clear distinctions between these issues have disappeared. We need to be concerned about all of it, not just what’s for dinner tonight. As Wendell Berry has said, eating is a political act. We all need to be aware of where our food system is taking us.
On the front page you will find an eclectic collection of links to other blogs, websites, news articles and documents that I’ve run across in my travels around the food landscape. Feel free to peruse them. At this point we are still developing our recipe feature. I tend to write rather loose descriptions of the food I prepare, in narrative form. Perhaps someday this will all be translated into easy-to-find instructions that more closely resemble what you are used to seeing in magazines or cookbooks. As my wife taught me over a period of years, recipes are merely guides. If you know a little about cooking, they are merely signposts. Feel free to bring to them your own creativity and spirit of adventure. Meanwhile, you can use the “search” feature on the front of the blog to see how I’ve used different ingredients.
Another feature that might interest you is under the “video” tab. Here are film segments I’ve done on composting and on starting a vegetable garden. Composting is one of my particular passions. We should be doing lots more of it in this country and stop being so wasteful. The films I made with MonkeySee cover quite a lot of territory, most of what you need to know to start a composting operation in your own home, or turn your own yard into a food factory.
A more recent feature is the box titled “Tales from a D.C. School Kitchen,” linking to the series of posts I wrote after spending a week as an observer in the kitchen of my daughter’s public elementary school. You can immediately link to any one of those posts by clicking on the appropriate circle. Or, if you hover over the text in the box and mouse-click, it will take you to a list of those posts as well as stories I have written subsequently that bear on the same topic, such as the piece I wrote for The Washington Post’s “Outlook” section following the launch of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity.
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The fabulous design work on the blog was done by our friend Keri Marion, in collaboration with my wife, Lane Green. Thanks, Keri!
And thanks to everyone for reading….