Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

I spent an enjoyable few hours on Friday afternoon at Fullsteam brewery in Durham, NC drinking half pints of their exquisite brews: sweet potato lager (both regular and sour-mashed), persimmon winter ale, accompanied by cookies from South Durham Confection Company created specifically for this brew (what a match, swoon), and hickory-smoked porter. Sean Wilson, Fullsteam’s Chief Executive Optimist, shared an important message last week, That Brewery Sucks, about insults, taste, beers, brewers and community.

When I saw online headlines about the impending extinction of oysters, I was confused. I thought about all the thriving oyster farms I knew in New England and the Pacific Northwest. It didn’t make sense. NPR and Julie Qiu set the story straight, “95 percent of the oysters we slurp up at fancy restaurants and roadside shacks alike are farmed, not wild, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.” Unfortunately wild oyster reefs have been dying off for years. I have only memories of wild Chesapeake Bay oysters.

So don’t worry too much about oysters, but do worry about pine nuts, or more accurately, pine mouth. What?! “Pine nuts can ruin taste buds for weeks.” It’s true. Luckily I’ve been using walnuts in my pesto since domestic pine nuts are so darn expensive, so my palate has been spared. One theory is “that certain non-edible varieties of pine nuts are being passed off in the marketplace as the edible variety.” From where? Yup, China. Surprise, surprise.

I guess I’ve been under a rock because I didn’t know about the launch of Food Corps, a national service organization. The Corps members will “dedicate one year of full-time public service in school food systems – sourcing healthful local food for school cafeterias, expanding nutrition education programs, and building and tending school gardens.” How cool is that! North Carolina readers, there are ten positions open for our state, one of only ten participating states.

Here’s a cool new social networking site from Australia, where it’s summertime right now: Eat With Me. “Eat With Me offers new ways to connect with people through sharing food and eating together.” You can use it to find friends who want to share your picnic blanket or kitchen table.

If you don’t have any food to share, you might need this new website, OvenAlly. On OvenAlly, still in pre-launch mode, you’ll be able to buy homemade food from people in your area. On the web, anything is possible.

beer oysters food

photo by Jessica Spengler from Creative Stitches & Hobbycrafts show in Brighton, UK

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