A shed of one’s own

My husband and I have decided we need separate rooms. For more than a decade, we’ve shared a home “office” that hasn’t worked well for either of us. There’s no room for flat files for him, nor is there the quiet retreat I crave for writing. I look longingly at our friend John’s backyard music studio and our neighbor’s tiny garage-turned-dance studio. I find myself eyeing our garden shed and our son’s long-abandoned tree house with an “I wonder if …” sense of hope. Serendipitously, this was all on my mind when I stumbled across Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways by Debra Prinzing in a Library display.

I am now convinced that I need a shed of my own, and I’ll take any of the Continue reading “A shed of one’s own”

Before Autumn Leaves

Before autumn leaves, settle down into a bounty of words, sights and sounds that crackle with the color and energy of the season.  Then, take a few moments to take in an eclectic array of books and CDs that’ll bring an extra spark to warm the chill heading up that frosty hill.

Let’s start with some comfort food to get us in the mood for heartier matters.  The Taste of the Season: Inspired Recipes for Fall and Winter by Diane Rossen Worthington includes such treats as Autumn Salad with Persimmons and Pomegranates and Autumn Noodle and Rice.  Peter Kerr’s Viva Mallorca!:  One Mallorcan Autumn continues to chronicle the jazz musician and farmer’s family life on their island fruit farm.  Autumn Rhythm:  Musings on Time, Tide, Aging, Dying and Such Biz by Richard Meltzer is not for the “faint of eye.”  From its cover to the last page you are in for one wild ride. For a less revved up reading experience try Autumn Beguiles the Fatalist by Michael Foley.  Foley beguiles his readers with poems titled to fit a season’s “Dappled Things” and Continue reading “Before Autumn Leaves”

Spending the afternoon in a Japanese Garden

Seattle is a city of garden aficionados, so it is fitting that we have one of the best Japanese gardens outside of Japan. With sweeping vistas and decades-old plantings tended with exquisite care, the Seattle Japanese Garden is a spot of meditative beauty.

It is also host to a variety of festive events. If you are curious to hear Japanese music on the evocative string instruments the koto and shakuhachi, you will want to visit on Sundays until October 26, between 1 and 3 p.m., to hear Duo En play (weather permitting). October 12 is Continue reading “Spending the afternoon in a Japanese Garden”

Book Review: Real Food (and more)

 Now I know that my mom really meant well on our family’s liver dinner night after reading Nina Planck’s guide to why she eats lard, raw milk, and organ meats in Real Food: what to eat and why. An intelligent gathering of research on good eating, this book emphasizes traditional foods: whole foods, animal fats, and grass-fed meat and dairy. Having been raised on margarine, I was fascinated by the chapters on fats, real and industrial, that include a short history of the butter substitute. Most illuminating are the changes in what fats Americans have been eating since the turn of the last century and how they have affected our health. One chart illustrates that the top three fats consumed in the U.S. in 1990 were soybean, canola, and cottonseed oils, all of which were nonexistent in traditional diets. The top three fats consumed in 1890 were lard, beef fat, and chicken fat. Planck points out that as Americans decreased their intake of animal fats, heart disease and other modern health problems increased. One reason I find Real Food interesting is that it briefly records the history of major changes in the American diet and their subsequent effects on health.

Most compelling is Planck’s explanation of the nutritional differences between pastured and grain-fed beef. Because of the proliferation of corn and soy in animal feed, Americans are eating less Omega-3 fatty acids and more Omega-6 fatty acids in their diets. Planck attributes this historic imbalance to a wealth of relatively recent health issues that include inflammation, obesity, insulin resistance, and depression. Michael Pollan addresses the same issue in Continue reading “Book Review: Real Food (and more)”

Celebrate Seattle’s Farmers Markets!

cover of farm to table cookbookSeattle has long been famous for the Pike Place Market, which will be 101 years old this August. The Seattle Public Library has some fantastic books to help the average shopper explore both the Pike Place and neighborhood farmers markets, such as The Farm to Table Cookbook: The Art of Eating Locally by Ivy Manning or Eat Here: Reclaiming Homegcover of Eat Hererown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket by Brian Halweil.

The Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance holds farmers markets in the neighborhoods of Broadway, Columbia City, Lake City, Magnolia, Phinney, University District and West Seattle. (U-District and West Seattle markets are year-round.) EBT (food stamps/Quest cards), Senior and WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers are also accepted at all seven markets.

Grab a friend or neighbor and browse the fabulous array of fresh cheese, eggs, seafood, baked goods, wine, vegetables and fruits! ~ Elizabeth W.