Those bananas may be 20 cents a pound, but the environmental costs of shipping food around the world are costing us a whole lot more.
This morning, scientists at the University of East Anglia in the U.K. announced they are recruiting volunteers to eat a bar of chocolate every day for a year. Only post-menopausal women with type 2 diabetes need apply. Specifically, they’re testing whether or not the flavonoids found in cocoa can indeed provide healthy benefits to the heart. Here’s the story.
Cleveland Urban Farmers April 24, 2008
A farmer’s market will be coming to the Cleveland Clinic and several inner city locations once a week this summer, according to a very interesting article from the Plain Dealer yesterday.
I’ve read recently about a number of programs in Cleveland that bring the farmer’s market into neighborhoods that have never had one before, including City Fresh. City Fresh’s website hasn’t been updated for 2008 – does anyone know if this is happening this year? City Fresh seems like a great program – I like that they have a variety of memberships available, and that they people to donate a little extra to lower the prices for people who can’t afford it. I’d go with City Fresh, but they don’t have a stop in Cleveland Heights yet. So, I’m planning to frequent the North Union Farmer’s Market at Shaker Square this summer! Can’t wait!
Gypsy Beans and Baking Company: Run by Gypsies? April 18, 2008
Gypsy Beans and Baking Company
6425 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102
On Monday for lunch, I was determined to find decent takeout, having left my soup on the counter at home. With Dish Global Deli being closed Mondays, and having exhausted the menu selections at Souper Market, I ventured forth into unknown territory: the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood.
I ended up at the Gypsy Beans and Baking Company in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, west of downtown, near the public theatre. I’ve gone there twice before, and both times my attempts to get there were thwarted by the lack of parking due to the blizzard.
The atmosphere was a really cool local coffee hangout, but I definitely don’t recommend the lunch. The service was a little sketchy, and their menu selections were rather lacking.
The pizza was good until I figured out that the dough wasn’t cooked all the way through. (Do Gypsies eat pizza? Or salad? Or coffee, for that matter?) The lady serving me didn’t seem to know what they had from their menu that was available.
During the ten minutes I was in there, I had several cryptic conversations with her, which went something like this.
Me: “I just like to get something for lunch to go.”
Me: “I’d just like to get some lunch for takeout, please.”
Her: “Huh? What?”
Me: “To go. I want to get lunch to go.”
And then with the salad…
Her: “What kind of salad dressing would you like?”
Me: “I don’t know, Italian?”
Her: “Oh wait, we only ever have one kind.”
They did have an array of indulgent treats in their pastry case, including cookies the size of personal pizzas. All of the pastries were so unnecessarily oversized, however, that they were almost unappetizing.
Also, I might add that on their website, they call themselves a “bistro” with “the freshest seasonal ingredients prepared with worldly influences.” In what universe is marginally cooked, mediocre pizza a good idea? The only thing they had fresh was the iceberg lettuce in my salad. What kind of bistro is this???
Overall disappointing, but I’ll go back to try their coffee!
Paradise of Chicken? April 3, 2008
I saw on the 11:00 news last night that a third Chick-Fil-A location is opening up in Cleveland and that they’re giving away a year’s worth of free chicken sandwiches to the first 100 people that show up. I was highly disturbed. People were camping out in line overnight, people had driven from Pennsylvania to go to this thing, their weird cows were dancing around in the parking lot, and a lot of hairy-looking 20-something guys and overweight, middle-aged types were camped out, singing the praises of the Chick-Fil-A.
For me, the most disturbing part of the news story was a brief interview with a woman who had not only camped out overnight, but purchased $50 of stuff, like a tent, blankets, gloves and extra clothes, in order to wait in line. What?!? She paid to wait in line all night so that she could get fattening food for the rest of the year?
Woah! Isn’t this kind of hype part of why the CDC continues to report dramatic increases in obesity every year? And, perhaps more importantly, why do people only get excited about food that no one in their right mind who wanted to avoid obesity would eat more than twice a year? In Ohio, nearly 30 percent of people are considered obese. That’s more than 1 in 4.
I’m not saying that Chick-Fil-A in particular is a bad company. My point is that I wish there were a public outlet for people to get excited about healthy foods. I was sitting there watching the news story thinking, if this were a local food co-op or CSA event, there’s no way it would make the local news! Do we need to brainstorm publicity stunts to get people to eat healthy foods?
I heard an NPR story today about an artist who decided to test his theory that people buy things simply based on the packaging. What did he do? He picked up trash off the streets of New York, labeled it and started selling it. Demand has driven his prices up, and now his exclusive discarded pop cans and other litter are fetching prices up to $60 each.
So maybe if there were a better way to package and market fresh fruits and vegetables, people would eat them more. I’ve seen so many ads lately about the almonds grown in California and of course Florida orange juice. But is there something local farmers could do locally? Is it just the common misconception that fresh foods are more expensive and take longer to prepare?
Maybe there are things we can do to help promote healthy foods. Last summer I worked for a non-profit in Columbus that put on all kinds of nutrition and cooking classes in low-income neighborhoods, designed for a food stamp budget. They’re doing a lot to help people there, in Dayton and also here in Cleveland.
So maybe we just need an association or something for local food growers to market their products. What do you think? Do you have any ideas? Or, is Chick-Fil-A harmless healthy food, as they seem to imply on their website?
Light Bistro: Dining Lite April 2, 2008
2801 Bridge Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113
Great place for an expensive snack. Would be more appropriately named “Bistro Lite.”
Not To Be Missed
Beet Salad With Goat Cheese, Lamb Burger, Fresh Mozzarella and Melon small plate.