Monthly Archives: February 2010

day 4

What a difference three years makes.

Last time I attempted the 100-yard diet, it got pretty ugly. Maybe because it was July, sort of an awkward month, while February in Oakland is time for spring greens and potatoes and carrots and beets AND the winter stores of winter squash and canned tomatoes haven’t run out. I haven’t had to resort to the corn cobs on the mantle, but I’m waiting until day 10 or so. Here’s what I ate for dinner.

It’s definitely easier this time because of the goat. Also I cheated last night (knew I would, though) at my friend’s house last night. But he mostly made things I could have had anyway: corn soup, salad with feta and pumpkin–except for the mind-blowing seafood thai noodles from Christine Manfield’s book Spice. Oh my god. I brought goat milk and meyer lemon sorbet for dessert. Today involved squash soup, steamed milk, carrots, apple/plum sauce with milk, fried potatoes and greens and a little rind of cheese. It’s, as they say, all good.

But now that I have the benefit of a few days hindsight, I can think of some better cleanses/stunts for people to try. Feel free to run with these:

1. Catastrophe diet. Pretend like there’s no grocery store because there’s big earthquake or tsunami. Your house is intact, but what would you eat? Most people don’t know it, but they have a shit-ton of food in the cupboard. You should really eat it, and this is a good motivator to clean out the old stuff. Just looking through my cupboards (believe me, I’ve been looking), I have: 2 quarts of dry beans, granola, pumpkin seeds, thin rice noodles, almond butter, coconut milk, dried mushrooms, all kinds of flour, powdered sugar, arepa corn stuff a friend gave me…. This is all in addition to what’s in the larder of home-made stuff like wine and pickles and canned tomatoes. Paired with vegetables out of the garden, I could really make some good food! Maybe that’s what I’ll do post-cleanse, as it’ll force me to cook at home.

2. How to Cook a Wolf diet. I love MFK Fisher. The book was written during the war years, when money was tight and people were constantly being reminded of it. She used her imagination to make it kind of fun to be cooking the same boring shit everyday (I can relate). She also diverges from food talk to talk about making soap or stuffing pin cushions with old coffee grounds. I can’t believe some blogger hasn’t gotten a book deal for following HtoCaW. I’ll probably try out a couple of the book’s recipes, like the Southern Spoon bread (with the corn), Potato Soup, and Eggs in Hell (sans bread). I just love the section where she talks about having toast for breakfast. Lots of toast, and nothing else. But have fun with it and try lots of different kinds of jam. So easy. And so cheap. Aitkins rolling in his grave, I’m sure. God I miss toast.

As a sidenote, I’m reading her diaries now and just came across a line she wrote during the Depression: “Even now I feel it–a nostalgia for the present!” I wrote a similar sentiment in Farm City, but had never read MFK’s line until now. It’s strange how going through something difficult or challenging or uncomfortable makes us feel like it’s really important. That it shapes us and makes us who we are, so later when we are comfortable, we can draw upon the hardship and feel a proud about that hardship. Humans are weird.

3. Insect diet. I know this is gross, but you can take it. I did two hours of garden bed prepping, and during that time, I encountered many, many bugs. Big huge earthworms, spiders, snails. And one of the snails was caught laying her eggs. They are lovely and white. And I thought: caviar. And took a tiny sample. Actually, quite good. I’ve already “gone there” and eaten snails, but had never thought of their eggs. Might be a delicacy soon enough.

Okay, I’m addled. Goodnight!

Day Two

Feeling more human, but not quite.

Last night I cooked up the best part of the rabbit, as a gift to myself. The loins. They are the two strips of muscle running along their backs. Like a pork loin, these muscles don’t do much so they are tender, tender, tender. I fried them in duck fat, sprinkled with salt, and a side of home-made Gravenstein apple sauce. Heaven. Still, I went to bed hungry at 9:30. Now that I look back on it, I was going out to eat almost every fricking night! I had really gotten used to eating way too much food. I blame Bill.

Couldn’t get up this morning. What do I possibly have to look forward to? Usually the thought of the tea with milk and honey was a huge motivator. I settled by into bed for a long morning, cuddling with cuzzin the cat. But the chickens kept coming up to the back stairs demanding their food, and then the goats whinied, etc. You can see how people live longer because of their demanding animals.

Once up, I made what will surely become my new tea: frothed goat milk with honey. And two aspirins because there is no caffeine in either of those things.

Then I devoured a quarter of a baked trimable winter squash. Holy carb day-dream.

Since there was a rainstorm, I made some tomato soup from the rabbit bone stock, and enjoyed the fringed side area of the rabbit, which is flat and should taste like a veal milanesa but I didn’t pound it, so it was like an insole of a shoe. Still, pretty good when fried in duck fat. The soup is amazing. Also, a garden salad was picked before the storm. Then I think our chimney blew off the house. Oh well, I’m doing a cleanse, dammit, I can’t worry about my rented¬† apartment’s infrastructure.

More applesauce. Discovered two of the baby rabbits are missing, and one is wounded. What is going on out there on the deck? Is it like Watership Down? Separated everyone. Fuck. Now I have two baby bunnies (the albino survived) in my apartment.

Dinner of soup, rabbit forelegs (sorry little guys, ignore that frying smell, it’s just your aunt!), and applesauce with dollop of Bebe cream. Mercy.

Day one

Whoops, forgot that I’m addicted to Lapsong Souchong tea. Feel very tired and grumpy. No headache, but I’m so sluggish. In fact, I took a nap on the hard tile floor of my office this afternoon.

Also, as I munch down my amazing! delicious! geotrichum-rind cheese (thanks, Allison) made from Bebe’s ever-loving udder, I’m wondering if this will be cleansing at all. Will find out. Maybe I’ll patent an all-cheese diet.

Ate an entire jar of plums and am wondering about the consequences of that. Followed by a lot of broccoli. Then more cheese. Hmm.

Decided the salt thing is too much work, I don’t have the time to go to the ocean. So I’m sticking with the Red Diamond. Next time, I promise!

Have a rabbit defrosting in the fridge. Will be frying that tonight in duck fat. Served with greens and some ‘kraut.

Best discovery: nettle tea is really lovely.

End of Winter Challenge

Dudes. My pants don’t fit! I think I’ve been eating too much. It’s really gross. So, for the next two weeks, I’ll be revisiting my lovely 100-yard diet from the summer of 2007.

Rules and motivations are slightly different. Let me explain.

Motivations:

1. Too much Chinese food giving me a muffin top, and extra fat layer is making a strange rippling feeling when I walk.

2. Almost spring, time to clean out the whole system. I’ll be using an herbal “deep cleanser” if you know what I mean. It’s been at least five years since my last intestinal cleanse.

3. Bill’s on vacation so I can stay focused.

4. Not getting any younger.

5. Reading Tom Brown, the wilderness survival guru and loving it. Though he looks a little pudgy in his author photo (how can this be if he’s eating acorns and wild nettles all day long?), he’s reminding me that my body is a tool for living, not a carcass for hiding out in. Or something like that.

Rules:

1. Food from the garden only. No Chinese take-out. This includes: rabbit, vegetables, Bebe’s ever-loving milk, cheese, and sorbet (maybe this won’t work to melt pounds). I am going over to Hank’s for dinner, so that’s my one exception.

2. Wild-foraged food okay. Includes ‘shrooms, branches, nettles, and sea salt.

3. Pantry food okay that I’ve grown or picked myself: applesauce, tomatoes, pickles, olives.

Don’t worry: I’m no longer drinking coffee, this is going to be painless.

There, I told you, so don’t let me cheat!! This starts tomorrow, Thursday, February 25, ends March 11.

Winter Bunnies

Got a lovely gift upon my return from Africa: baby bunnies!

I had forgotten that on New Year’s Eve, I put mama Sasquatch into Mr. Bunny’s cage. He’s my new buck, and I just love him. He’s such an enthusiastic eater–munches down all the grass and vegetable stalks from the garden. Likewise, he was quite an enthusiastic suitor, glad to see Sasquatch and spend some quality time with her.

A month later, out came the little ones.

Only four of them. Last spring, Sasquatch had 8, so I wonder if it’s the new buck, or perhaps that it’s winter and still a little bit cold. As you can see, one of the babies is white! An albino. Which is funny because when I was in Africa, I heard there’s a cult surrounding albinos. That witch doctors believe they will bring money. In fact, it’s become a problem with albino people getting kidnapped. Anyway, I hope my little white one will bring good luck to Ghosttown Farm.

Speaking of rabbits, there’s a bunch of rabbit-related activities going on in the Bay Area.

Meatpaper magazine and OPEN restaurant are hosting a series of rabbit-related celebrations, calling it rabbit week.

East Meats West II
You might have heard about our exciting November events in Brooklyn with our friends at Diner and Diner Journal. We collaborated to produce an amazing rabbit feast, and now, the Diner folks are flying west for a rabbit redux so you, too, can taste the magic!

WHAT
Chefs Chris Kronner of Bar Tartine in San Francisco and Sean Rembold of Diner in Brooklyn team up to create a 4-course dinner featuring Devil’s Gulch rabbits. There will be signature cocktails and wine pairings. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Pasternak’s fund to help the community in Haiti that they serve.

WHEN
February 22
Two seatings, 6pm and 9pm

WHERE
Bar Tartine
561 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

There are two spots left in the rabbit hide tanning class March 6 and 7 at Ghosttown Farm with Tamara Wilder. Email me: novellacarpenter@gmail.com if you want to register. It is not a class for the faint of heart.

Also, I’m teaching a raising rabbits class at the Biofuel Oasis March 21.

Also, I was featured in Good Magazine, talking about rabbits and urban farming.

Yay bunnies!

Black Panthers and me: Friday

These days, what with the whole financial crisis and all, fundraising is getting tight for all kinds of cool projects. One of them is the Commemorator, a newspaper put out by some former Black Panthers, who I really like a lot. They run a literacy program, too. As I mentioned in my book, Farm City, the BP started school gardens long before it became the fashion. So when Melvin Dickson called and asked me to have a fundraiser for his group, I was more than happy to oblige.

I’ll be talking for the first part, reading from Farm City and maybe showing some slides about urban farms. I will also discuss my recent trip to Kenya and things I learned while there. After a break with refreshments,¬† Melvin will take the stage and discuss a history of self-empowerment that the BPs promoted. I think he’s going to show this video of the school started by the Panthers, which makes you think about history in a very different way.

Here’s the 411:

Neibyl Proctor Library

6501 Telegraph Ave, Oakland

February 12, 7pm

Free: but donations are gladly accepted to support the CCBPP’s literacy program. Books will be available for sale, and all proceeds go to the literacy program.

Hope to meet you there!