From The Jungle to The Chain

Bill Droel takes a look at the meat packing industry as exposed in The Chain: Farm Factory and the Fate of Our Food by Ted Genoways, a new book in the tradition of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.

A dirty and perhaps infected carcass more likely makes its way down the line. Workers suffer more injuries, including a nerve-damaging infection that is only detected later. Our relatively inexpensive meat “comes at a high cost to its workers.”

Read More: Food Processing | Catholic Labor Network

The Barbecue Idea

Somewhere on this Weblog there will eventually be an essay about barbecue. It won’t be about how to barbecue. It will be about why grilling over coals or wood is important to some people, or at least to me.

You have been forewarned, and now I must go light the charcoal chimney.


I’ve created an entire site dedicated to grilling pursuits. Head on over to Grilling With Noebie for essays, recipes, tips, tricks, techniques, photos and more. There are only a few articles up at the moment, but I’ll be adding to it every week.

10 Great Container Tomatoes

There’s nothing like stepping out back and picking a beautiful, ripe homegrown tomato for a BLT, a salad or simply for slicing and serving with a little seasoned salt. I started planting tomatoes in huge terra cotta pots more than a decade ago when I didn’t have diggable space in a decent, sunny location for a garden, and the habit stuck. I’ve always loved the first tomato of the season. No matter how fresh they are from the farmers’ market, they’re never quite as tasty as the ones you grow yourself.

Colleen Vanderlinden over on Treehugger has a wonderful post about ten tomato varieties that do well in containers. The Black Krims sound particularly tasty.

I first ran across Colleen’s article on the Occupy Monsanto blog. The more I learn, the more I realize that some of the most simple and pleasant everyday things we do – like choosing to grow heirloom tomatoes in pots – can be powerful political acts as well. For me, that makes such things all the more satisfying.

I’m hoping it won’t be too late to plant a few pots after our move next month.

A word of caution to those who want to grow container tomatoes on an upstairs balcony. Be careful where you set them. Remember that Tommy Ewell nearly got killed by Marilyn Monroe’s falling tomato plant in The Seven Year Itch. :)

New Study: Synergistic Toxicity and GMOs

Enjoy your frankenfood Bt Sweet Corn this Summer.

From a Study Conducted at the University of Caen:

…we argue that modified Bt toxins are not inert on nontarget human cells, and that they can present combined side-effects with other residues of pesticides specific to GM plants.

Read More: Bt toxin and glyphosate residues in genetically modified plants likely exhibit synergistic toxicity. [GreenMedInfo]

Give Us This Day

I’ve baked my share of soda bread and corn bread over the years. I’ve also occasionally made my own pizza dough, and lately I’ve been baking some with a bread machine, but I’ve never turned out anything like this – until today.

My wife had a copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and I picked it up the other evening and after reading only a few pages became very excited at the prospect of delicious home baked bread with so little effort. The only question in my mind was whether or not their approach would actually work.

It does.