Tuesday, June 06, 2006

What I'm Reading

I recently heard an interview with Patricia Klindienst author of The Earth Knows My Name : Food, Culture, and Sustainability in the Gardens of Ethnic America. As she spoke in the interview, I was reminded of childhood visits to my great aunts' house in Brooklyn. Their tiny backyard was a lush edible landscape of tomatoes, figs and much more that I was too young to remember. I can't wait to get a peek at this book.

I find stories like these so inspiring. It helps me envision my own personal edible landscape. Path to Freedom is another great resource to inspire you to see the gardening bounty, and level of self sufficiency, that is possible no matter how small your plot is. (Thanks to Ruthie for bringing it to my attention.)

Jim and I have been reading the book Hard Times by Studs Terkel. Its a book filled with people reminiscing about their experiences during the Great Depression. Each person's story is a seperate little segment and its a fascinating read.

I've got a Steve Brill book on wild edibles waiting for me at the library. That should be a very interesting read.

Fans of the Vegan Lunch Box will understand my sadness that Jennifer posted her last lunch box yesterday. Where will I look for inspiration now??


Ruthie said...

Katie, we need to create thrifty veggie lunchbox! :-D

Russell and I have deided to go organic in your shadow, so Thank You! Though we've had trouble with somethings (especially how tea used to cost $0.01 a bag and now its 18 times as much(!) I'm sure we'll adjust. Tea is a nonessential item anyway.

I really appreciate your dishsoap comment, really cool idea! I'll try that soon.

I was thumbing through The Tightwad Gazette recently and realized she does a lot more with her "trash" than I do. On that note: What do you do with your empty soymilk cartons? I've used them for the following: fill with water, freeze. Use as efficiency boosters in a not-full freezer (full freezers are more efficient). Take frozen carton in ice chest instead of buying a bag of ice on picnics. Also: use to start seeds (sliced on the vertical) or grow small plants (top sliced off). I'm thinking, if washed out well, they could serve as containers, maybe table-top or car trash containers, or sliced in half you could store anything small in them like pencils or teabags... I don't know. Ideas?? :)

Also, have you tried powdered soymilk yet? It's more expensive than bargain soymilk here, but not by much. I've used it in pancakes, quick breads, cheezy or white sauce, or soyburger gravy. The good thing about it is that you can get it unsweetened, because who likes sweet gravy? Eww. :)

Katie said...

It is upsetting that things like organic coffee and tea is so much more expensive and now that we drink decaf, forget it! In fact those are the two places we are most likely to forego organics if money is a bit tight. But as you point out, these are non-essential items and we drank way too much coffee anyhow. We've cut way down.

I've use the soymilk containers for seed starts and for ice but not much more than that. Its a great question you pose, in fact I think it might be the topic of today's post!

I haven't tried the powdered soymilk yet. I keep forgetting about it since I do most of my foos shopping via the coop catalog and don't go into the natural food store as much. What brand do you use? Are you still making your own soymilk?

We've cut down to no more than two cups of coffee a day and on most days its

Ruthie said...

What it has really opened my eyes to is that fact that we like mint tea as much as black tea, and its really easy to grow mint. So, although my gardening attempts in the past haven't been worth much, I might try harder to crank enough organic mint out for our tea addiction. I suppose we should really try drinking more ice water, though. :)

Ruthie said...

Oh and I use Better than Milk or something like that soy plain. I get it in bulk at my healthfood store and I *think* Ozark Coop carries it. Do NOT use NOW (I think thats what its called, it comes in a yellow bag) soymilk powder. It's just pulverized soy flour. The stuff should look white, not yellow. If it's not bulk it comes in a white canister and says something like: "Makes 8 [or 9, I can't remember] quarts!" On the front. That's how my parents-in-law buy it.

It's also really good as a substitute for pulverized nuts in the Uncheese Cookbook. I do this because its more convinient and less expensive (for me, soymilk powder cost $5.99 a pound and nuts are usually exorbidantly more), but it is really a lot more processed, so, maybe its not such a good deal.

Now that I'm working 40 hours a week I really don't have time to make my own soymilk :( plus with the moving plans and everything, I'm just swamped. I sincerely plan on taking it up again when we move to Bozeman, I'm moving the remainder of my 50 lbs of organic soybeans in the moving truck. I'm asking for a new filter cup for my machine for my birthday. :) Also, I really love the soymilk maker for making tofu. It's so cheap and easy to make "curd like" tofu. All you do is add coagulator (and mine came with a lot or nigari, but you can use vinegar) to the fresh, hot soymilk and let it sit. I've realized we generally buy tofu and crumble it for scrambler, fritatta, soy-cheese spreads, etc, and I can make it for like $0.20 a pound with my machine.

I'm planning my food-for-the-move now and I'll probably post it to my blog later this week. I'm horrible at posting on my blog :(

Katie said...

I'm told that mint grows like a weed so its good that mint tea is your favorite!

That's so cool that you can make tofu. I didn't realize that it was that simple to do.

Don't worry about the blog, I promise to read your move menu whenever you post it!