Thursday, October 9, 2008


First, have you read "In Defense of Food," the latest book by Michael Pollan? If you haven't, get thee to your local library and do so as soon as possible. It's a very readable and very remarkable indictment of the American food industry and the rise of the "nutritionism" pseudoscience. Interesting stuff that will definitely make you think differently about what we eat, why we eat it and how we probably should be eating. Suffice it to say, many of us are doing it wrong. I was fascinated and inspired.

Speaking of fascinated and inspired, another book that I actually bought is Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian." Now, I'm not a vegetarian and neither is Jeff, but I confess that having two living, breathing chickens walking around the backyard makes me look rather differently at the meat on the plate. Coupled with Pollan's summary maxim--"Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much."--and the general idea that less meat might be more for both me and the planet, more forays into the world of vegetarian cooking can't be a bad thing. This particular cookbook is filled with great, easy recipes and a lot of "base recipes" with multiple variation, like 13 ways to do vegetarian/bean burgers or Asian noodle dishes. I can vouch for the deliciousness of the basic veggie burger recipe, which is saying a lot since I usually find them akin to a soggy piece of cardboard recently used by a homeless gentleman as a sleeping accommodation. I highly recommend this one and will be adding some of the recipes to the family cookbook if I EVER get around to sending out an update. I know I'm behind!

And, being more environmentally aware here at the HandyHouse means occasionally trying something that seems totally out there. This week's experiment? Using apple cider vinegar (1 Tbsp diluted in one cup of plain old tap water) as, of all things, hair conditioner. Theoretically, it was supposed to make my hair soft and shiny and ever so nice. But, anyone who knows me knows that I have a lot of hair. Very thick, very tangly hair that has never been without the smoothing joys of hair conditioner since I stopped using Johnson & Johnson's No More Tears as a wee babe. But, thought I, what the hey? What's the worst thing that could happen? Well, the worst thing that happened was . . . my hair came out soft and shiny and ever so nice. I swear, it worked like a charm! Don't ask me how or why, for the science of pH balancing is well beyond my puny brain, but it totally, totally worked. Try it! Just use the formula above, rinse about a cup of the mix through your hair and rinse it out. I'm curious to know your results if you do.  That said, I take no responsibility for more interesting results than the ones I experienced.  I'm just the eco-messenger here!

We're certainly experiencing interesting times these days, but I like to remember these words from the Dalai Lama:
"It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others."

Here's hoping we all have the chance to recognize and embrace our potential.

No comments: