Sunday, January 25, 2009

King Corn

Wyatt and I rented the film "King Corn" last night. It's a documentary about the abundance of corn products in the average American's diet. It was pretty interesting and opened my eyes to a few things I knew nothing about. Not the part about corn being a major ingredient in most foods...I knew that already, courtesy of the book "In the Defense of Food". (And I'm happy to say after rumaging through our fridge and cupboards we have a small percentage of food that actually does contain corn.) However, I was not aware of the fact that most cows spend their last days of life in a feed lot eating corn. Maybe I was aware of this but chose to squeeze it from my memory? Hmmmm.... Anyway, it made me stop and think about modern day technology and if it really is a good thing or not. Here is my point:

We discovered if we fed cows corn they could gain weight twice as fast (if not more) with a fraction of the space needed. So with the help of modern technology we are able to make food more plentiful using feed lots. Good, right? I'm not so sure... As a result of feed lots and corn diets cows are more prone to diseases (not harmful to humans...just the cows - I think). Things like ulcerates. Poor cows, right? I guess that depends on how you feel about cows. The feed lots/corn diet has an affect on humans too. We're not getting the same nutrients from meat as we once were. Meat today has higher levels of fat and lower levels of protein. Bad, right?

Before Modern Technology = less amounts of good quality meat & healthy cows
Modern Technology = more amounts of poor quality meat & unhealthy cows

So did modern technology really help the situation? Sure we have more meat but what about the quality? I haven't really established an opinion/side on the issue. I know that this new information hasn't stopped me from wanting to eat meat (we just had tacos!). And I know that there has got to be a better way to go about doing it. I think that we were blessed with modern technology for a reason - to be able to solve modern day issues. I just think we haven't come up with a final solution on this issue yet. I figure once scientists, ranchers, farmers, etc. are able to find a solution that provides better meat for humans, a better quality of life for cows (I know, they're here for us to eat...but does that mean they have to live a crappy life?), and a sufficient production of meat (cheap enough for all to enjoy) then we can call it good. So there you have it - I'm a fence sitter on the issue. I think more is better but I also think high-quality is better.

On another note but similar topic; I've been wanting to test out my food storage along with the wheat grinder we got for Christmas three years ago. The problem is, I don't have the slightest clue how to bake with whole wheat. I've read online about splitting the flour 50/50 with whole wheat flour and white flour. I also went to an enrichment class yesterday where the lady said she baked her cookies with 100% whole wheat flour. You know, listening to someone lecture you and trying things "hands on" are two very different things. I think they need a lab with the lectures they give at enrichment. So to any of my readers, do you bake with whole wheat flour? If so, how do you do it? Any tips or suggestions? Any recipes? Any information you could provide me from what type of wheat you use, to how you grind it, to how much you bake with would be very helpful...

On another note that has nothing to do with this very LONG rambling post (I doubt any of my readers have made it this far) - Portland experienced TEN days in a row of sunshine. TEN!!!! Yesterday's clouds broke the sunny streak. However, it was sunny today and is forecasted to be sunny the next four days! I have been extra chipper this month! Hooray!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Sun and All Its Glory

I know that it's been a while since I last posted. It's just that I haven't felt like I've had anything exciting to share. Not that I think my life isn't's just that I don't think its excitement is worthy of an audience. Seeing that my blog has been in a 17-day lull, I thought it was about time to post something...

The sun has decided to grace us with its presence the past few days...and it's foretasted to stay for the next few more! Hooray! Wyatt and I set out on a five-hour drive yesterday to enjoy the sun and the scenery. We headed west through the city on highway 30 towards Astoria (known best from the movie "Goonies"). Then we headed south on 101 toward Seaside. And looped back home on 26. What a glorious day!

The town of Astoria.

Wyatt posing with the Astoria Column.

I realize that I'm 100% in the shadows...because I think it's the background that deserves the focus.

Crossing the Astoria bridge to Washington.

I think that's Mt. Saint Helen's in the far right background. Though I'm sure one of my Pacific Northwest knowledgeable readers will inform me that it's really Mt. Adam's, or Mt. Jefferson or some other peak. The point is that it was a clear and SUNNY day!

"What's that in the sky?", you ask? Oh why, that's the SUN!

I thought I'd pretend like I was roaming in the desert...

Seaside, Oregon.

Admiring the blue, blue skies!

Taking note of the first time Sam (my car) has driven on the beach. Doesn't he look at peace?

I LOVE my car!

So pretty much, as you can see, we enjoyed the sunny (and WARM) day. When we left Portland it was WINDY! To our surprise (and enjoyment) it was about 60d and calm on the coast. There was hardly a breeze in the air. Quite the opposite of the Oregon Beach norm. What a fantastic day!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Three Thoughts From the Last Week of 2008

I just thought I would share some thoughts I had this past week...

1. Contemporary Art makes me angry
Wyatt and I decided to visit the Portland Art Museum last week. Yes, there were a lot of pieces of art that portrayed a lot of talent...even if I didn't necessarily like them. However, I just can't swallow the fact that people can paint a canvas a solid color, add a splash of another color and call it "art". Really. I just don't think that pieces of art that anyone can paint/create belong in an art museum. It just seems like with flexible boundaries like that, anyone could submit their personal "art". Where is the line of talent?

2. Liking Pad Thai doesn't mean you like Thai food
My work treated my fellow coworkers and me to a Thai food lunch. As it turns out all but one (me) ordered Pad Thai. And everyone claimed that they like Thai food. That's like saying you like Italian food but only eat spaghetti. You can't claim all by choosing only one. Be adventurous people! There is more to life then Pad Thai and spaghetti.

3. 2008 was the year of prego women
I have been keeping a tab of all the women I'm related to, friends with and associated with that were prego in the year 2008. I counted the names on my list yesterday...38 women. 38! Is there something in the water? Did I miss the memo (not that I'm upset)? This seems like an unusually high number. Weird.