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A Press Democrat Blog

Proximal Kitchen

Cooking locally, with really sharp knives

“Toxic Strawberries”: A Guest-Post Response

[NOTE: The following post was submitted, at my invitation, in response to Get Your Neurotoxin Off My Strawberry, which I posted on this site last week. I am presenting it as I received it, unedited and unabridged. As such, it does not necessarily reflect an endorsement by, or opinion of, me or the Proximal Kitchen blog, and should not be construed as such.] Methyl iodide… the other side of the story Jim Sims, Emeritus Professor and Chemist, University of California,… Read More »

Netflix. The NY Times. Why I’m Fat.

It was late last year, on one of those December days as bright and crisp as a good apple, when I first heard that The New York Times Company was about to be dropped from the S&P 500 like a bad habit, in order to make room for Netflix. Hark! The death of Old Media! The herald angel of New Media sings! gushed the commentator on NPR. Which is all true, of course, and the symbolism of the event –… Read More »

Get Your Neurotoxin Off My Strawberry

I apologize in advance for what promises to be an angry post, but everyone has a line, and I draw mine at toxic strawberries.

In case you haven’t heard, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) recently decided that the soil in which some 90% of the nation’s strawberries are grown may now be treated with the known carcinogen and neurotoxin methyl iodide, or MeI. How bad is this stuff? Well, for starters, use when they want to create cancerous cells in the lab… Read More >> Read More »

Fox News: Grass-Fed Worse For Environment (Part 2)

Does grass-fed beef really have a larger carbon footprint than its corn-fed cousin? That’s the controversial claim made by John Stossel, posted on Townhall.com and televised on Fox Business Network, that I talked about in my post from earlier this week. With a little digging, it turned out that the so-called “research” on which the story was based (posted here by its WSU co-author) turned out not to be science at all, but rather a wanly disguised shill job by… Read More »

Fox News: Grass-Fed Beef Is Worse For The Environment

Beef from corn-fed, CAFO-raised cattle is actually far better for the environment than the uber foodie-chic, grass-fed variety. Or is it? That’s the question raised by a recent and highly publicized story on Fox Business Network, based on a paper – by a professor of animal sciences at Washington State University – that flies in the face of today’s green diktat, conventional foodie wisdom, and the many derivative threads of Michael Pollan’s much-discussed 2002 article, Power Steer. Unfortunately, as is so… Read More »

What’s up with the high price of lemons?

I have long shared Ms Jordan’s intuitive sense that the better part of a buck for a commercial lemon just seems expensive and, like anyone over the age of 5 and not in a coma, I am painfully aware of the economic date rape perpetrated by such noteworthy offenders as high-speed cable and internet, public utilities, and – to the topic at hand – large scale agri-business, which got me thinking: Is the market for lemons competitive, or just another special-interest screwing?… Read More »

A Plate of Strange Bedfellows

Pickles, cheese, and chocolate: Three ingredients, three possible pair-wise combinations, two really good and interesting tastes, and one impossibly disgusting mouthful of gag reflex. If I like cheese with pickles, and (somewhat surprisingly) I like chocolate with cheese, then why don’t I like chocolate with pickles? I mean, other than the painfully obvious – in point of fact, it tastes even worse than it sounds – why the apparent lack of transitivity? As an amateur cook and a professional economist,… Read More »

Should I buy local wines at Costco?

Sonoma County Pinot Noir Costco We’ve talked about Costco before, a conversation in which I argued that monolithic, small-business-destroying category killers still have a place in the kitchen, even proximal kitchens, if for no other reason than because saving money on staples allows us to allocate a larger share of our budget to the locally produced goods of premium quality (and, let’s be honest, at a premium price), that we like to cook with. But what about buying locally produced goods at the Big C?… Read More »