Friday, May 31, 2024

Food In May

Kitchens in Paris

Ta Dam Restaurant, May 27

Hotel breakfast kitchen,

The end: we had to cut the trip short, and came home after only 2 days. More about that eventually.

In Ann Arbor

Mother’s Day Kitchen

Len made me my favorite cinnamon rolls, which we ate at the kitchen counter.

From Carol’s Kitchen

Carol invited us for a Mother’s Day dinner and made this great pie!
(So this is from Carol’s kitchen, also in Ann Arbor.)

Lunches and Dinners from my Kitchen

Salad, chips, and salsa: lunch in the garden.

Simple sandwich lunch.

French potato salad — “pommes à l’huile" — is one of our favorites.

In my kitchen by mae… © 2024… shared with Sherry and fellow food bloggers here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Museé D’Orsay, Paris


Claude Monet, “Impression, Sunrise” (1872)

At the museum today, the major special exhibition was "Paris 1874 Inventer l'impressionnisme." As always at this museum it was overwhelming from beginning (an overview of the very low contemporary reputation of the group of artists eventually known as impressionists) to end (a summary, with many of the original paintings of the later exhibits by this increasingly well-regarded group). While the term “impressionism” was invented after the 1874 exhibit, it plays a huge role in understanding the art and artists, as especially illustrated by Monet’s iconic painting. 

The original 1874 exhibit by the upcoming impressionists was a rebellion against the official “Salon” where the then-conventional artists displayed a professional jury-selected collection of a large number of art works. In contrast to these works, the novelty and huge imagination of the rebel group was very well highlighted by the organizers of today’s exposition. An entire room displayed a number of works that were shown in the Salon of 1874. These now mainly look so dated that it’s almost comic, though at the time the artists took themselves extremely seriously.

The permanent collections of the museum are also fabulous,
as is the building itself — a repurposed rail station — with an incredible clock.
The clock is now the dramatic feature of a dining room (we did not eat there).

The Orsay permanent collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works includes a large number of very famous paintings by Monet, Berthe Morisot, Van Gogh, Renoir, Gustave Caillebotte, and others. I’ve seen them many times in the past and never tire of them. A few in-museum photots:

In the main hall the vast arched roof is an echo of the original rail station.

From a window: a view of roofs and the distant Eiffel Tower.

Monday, May 27, 2024

We Made it to Paris

Paris: evening.

After landing, we made it through all the airport formalities in an hour.
Unfortunately the traffic was terrible, and it took almost two hours to reach the hotel!
Then we had coffee, which is served with a tiny tumbler of water to drink.

On the Plane (8 hours)

Jardin des Plantes: Near our Hotel

 Dinner: Ta Dam Restaurant

Radishes and butter: classic to go with a glass of wine and some bread to start.

Blog post © 2024 mae sander

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Where will I be?

 Hint 1: I am reading A Tale of Two Cities.

Dickens published A Tale of Two Cities in 31 installments beginning in April, 1859.
This is the cover of one of the issues first serializing the novel.

A wine shop in one of the two cities in 1780, near the beginning of the novel.
The Gutenberg edition that I’m reading includes the original illustrations.
Dickens is a fabulous author!

Hint 2: I’ve been there before.

A postcard.

Hint 3: You can find great birds there.

A European Robin that we saw in May, 2016.

Moorhen and her chick, 2016.

Did you guess?

Blog post © 2024 mae sander
Shared with Deb’s Sunday Salon

Friday, May 24, 2024

Spider Webs on the Bridge

The spiders had been busy working between the metal bridge supports.

A spider web against the foliage: harder to see.

… also a few flowers

Shared with Eileen’s critters… photos © mae sander 2024

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Food in a Just World?


I bought this book because it was recommended by Marion Nestle, a food writer and nutrition expert whom I respect. I hoped it would inform me about industrial food production and the impact of food production on climate change — topics that have interested me for a long time. The overall description of the book made me expect some well-thought-out ideas on many of the problems with big agriculture in our society. Specifically, Nestle wrote:

”Food in a Just World is an up-to-the-minute introduction to issues of class, race, and gender—and species—in what we eat, as well as to how larger issues of economics and capitalism affect workers in the meat industry.  Whether you eat meat or not, the book convincingly argues that these issues demand serious attention.” (source)

Reading this book has been a very disappointing experience. The authors, Tracey Harris and Terry Gibbs, seem to me to be partly crackpots and partly extremists about many critical issues. Their writing is full of leftist buzzwords like “intersectionality” — “decolonization” — “cultural embeddedness” — “paradigm shift” — “neoliberalism”  (to name only a few). The book also has problems with organization and repetitiveness. I’m very suspicious of the credibility of the experts they quote. The fact that the book is centered on Canada and Canadian issues as well as global ones is disconcerting, but I don’t find fault with that. However the authors dwell on the fact that the land originally belonged to tribal people, whose food-ways were obliterated, and this doesn’t really contribute to finding a solution to current problems.

The authors’ vision of an ideal world seems very dubious: I doubt if the idyllic nature of their utopia would result in a global ability to provide even minimal nutrition for the current world population. Their vision might seem good for farm animals, but I think it would cause mass starvation of many species, especially humans. While such utopias always sound rosy, this one resembles others in that there’s no plausible way for the world to achieve it; that is, the authors have lots of idealism but no practical suggestions. Even if it could happen (if human nature and greed changed immediately) there’s no way shown that it would be timely enough to avert the clearly impending disaster of climate change.

The analysis of what’s wrong in general is unarguable, and they kept me reading the book. The threats of climate change, emerging animal-engendered diseases, widespread hunger in all parts of the world, potential mass famines, and many other examples of how food justice is lacking in our society and global society are all convincing. Here are some specific examples that I find useful:

“Inhabitants of North America and Western Europe make up 12 percent of the world’s population, but they represent 60 percent of individual consumer spending (World Watch Institute 2016). Consumer-citizens in those regions consume on average ‘3 times as much grain, fish, and fresh water; 6 times as much meat; 10 times as much energy and timber … as the resident of a poor country’” (p. 121)

“Small-scale peasant agriculture still provides 70% of the food that’s eaten in Africa.” (p. 65) 

“More than three-quarters (77%) of global soy is fed to livestock for meat and dairy production. Most of the rest is used for biofuels, industry or vegetable oils. Just 7% of soy is used directly for human food products such as tofu, soy milk, edamame beans, and tempeh. The idea that foods often promoted as substitutes for meat and dairy – such as tofu and soy milk – are driving deforestation is a common misconception.” (p. 68)

A few of the authors’ solutions to creating a just system for providing adequate worldwide nutrition include: ending capitalism; ending big corporate agriculture such as mass livestock and poultry raising and industrial food processing; ending the destruction of rainforests to provide areas for growing crops; making agriculture generally less disastrous for the environment; improving education about nutrition; providing everyone with food that’s appropriate to their ethnicity including convincing everyone to become a vegan; treating food workers better; treating animals as if they were workers; and a few other ideas. None of these ideas are exactly bad, but also none of them are remotely practical or likely to end climate change and its major impact on humanity.

The authors, in sum, are good at describing problems, flaky in analyzing the problems, and unconvincing in presenting solutions either short-term or long-term. The repetitive, polemical nature of the book and its constant reliance on quotations instead of a consistent narrative also make it hard to read.

UPDATE: This morning I read a well-thought-out article about the impact of producing meat, and in the context of my review, I wanted to pass it on. Although I do not think that it’s practical to end meat production entirely, I find many good things in this article: AI Won’t Fix Animal Agriculture.

Review © 2024 mae sander

Monday, May 20, 2024

Hors d’Oeuvres


Before going out to dinner Sunday evening, we invited a friend to join us for hors d’oeuvres and a drink.
Len’s rye bread was great with olive tapenade, avocado spread, and goat cheese spread.
Besides baking, Len’s been very busy in the garden, and it’s looking beautiful.

We all drank sparkling water.

Earlier in the weekend, we took a walk near the Huron River.

It was a lovely day to enjoy the river.

Photos by mae, shared with elizabeth’s weekly blog event.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Alice’s Murals from Myrtle Beach

Alice collected some great mural photos for me while she was visiting Myrtle Beach recently.

Thanks to Alice, I have these nice photos to share with Sami’s weekly mural event.