Milwaukee


In honor of C. C. Sabathia’s second post-season loss to the Phillies in the last two years, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on better times, both for the Brewers, and for the big fella himself…

Click on the picture! It's a time machine!

 

That is all.

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I have a bone to pick with my brother, Neal (or Boozhie, as he is more commonly known).  A few days back he opined the following thought:

Shallots are for babies; Onions are for men; garlic is for heroes.

I’m unsure of the origin of this quote: whether he found it somewhere or composed it himself.  And, grammatically, I am impressed.  A big fan of creative and appropriate semi-colon use, I applauded the architecture of the sentence.  However, the message, I fear, is inaccurate.

Not to say that babies shouldn’t eat shallots, or that garlic isn’t for heroes, but the flow of the sentence implies a hierarchy whereby shallots are inferior to onions, which is, in turn inferior to garlic.  It seems as though your implication here, is that shallots are for wussies.  This, sir, I cannot abide!  I raise my sword in defense of the noble shallot, and will not permit her name to be sullied by someone I otherwise respect.

Therefore, Boozhie–consider this my response. My dropped gauntlet, as it were…

The admittedly three-day-old roasted vegetables that I am about to tear into for lunch at work today.  Pardon the crummy presentation.

The admittedly three-day-old roasted vegetables that I am about to tear into for lunch at work today. Pardon the crummy presentation.

Since I’ve moved to New York, where the Farmer’s Markets persist year round and seasonal eating has become a way of life, I’ve become enamored with a very simple fall dish: roasted vegetables.  There are a few keys to this dish:  oil (I’ve taken to grape-seed over olive), diversity (that is to say, the adequate balance between root vegetables–unpeeled, of course–and non root vegetables), a simple array of spices (salt, pepper, thyme, and, if I’m feeling adventurous, a little fresh rosemary), and, last but certainly not least: the onions/garlic.  Clearly, an entire bulb of whole peeled garlic cloves is essential, but recently, I have begun to appreciate the spectacular flavors of whole roasted shallots, particularly when paired with turnips, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.

If you care to endeavor garlic’s superiority over shallots, I challenge you to eat this dish.  Sure shallots are a little more expensive, but, I would insist, they’re worth the investment.  And I hope that you reconsider your otherwise witty remarks, and make room for the noble shallot.

And please save some room for leeks in your semi-colon-spattered taxonomy.  They’re also well worth the inclusion…

Here’s the trailer for what looks to be a decent attempt at encapsulating Milwaukee’s mass transit woes:

Spread it around!

Trevor Hoffman give up the triple to Little T.I won’t have too many baseball posts on this blog, but I do have a fondness for readable sports journalism, especially when the subject is my beloved Milwaukee Brewers.  Tom Friend, a writer for ESPN The Magazine, wrote this article about the demise of the San Diego Padres at the hands of the recently-eliminated Brewers, specifically focusing on the at bat when, Tony Gwynn Jr., son and namesake of the most popular player in Padres’ history, tied the game that the Padres needed to win to secure a playoff berth: in the bottom of the ninth, with a two-strike count, against one of the game’s greatest closers.  He did it with a triple.  The Brew Crew went on to win the game, and the next one, forcing the Padres to play a one-game playoff against the Colorado Rockies, a game they lost in extra innings thanks to another Hoffman collapse.

And not only was “Little T” the namesake of Padre savior and hall of famer Tony Gwynn, he hit the triple off of Trevor Hoffman, his longtime friend and mentor.  This story was just too good to be left unwritten, and I’m glad Tom Friend stepped to the plate.  He over-writes his central theme: “The most intriguing at-bat of 2007…”, but the story is otherwise well-written.  Here’s the link:

“From San Diego’s favorite son…to spoilsport.” 

Happy reading.

At the end of this month, a number of local activist and education groups will be holding a national urban agriculture conference: “Pollinating Our Future.” This occurrence, at this time, in this fine city is (at the very least) fortuitous. As anyone who knows me can attest to, urban agriculture and urban food systems are my primary activist concerns, and I am in the middle of an independent study through which I hope to devise an avenue for urban agriculture as an economic development strategy in cities like Milwaukee.

Pollinating Our Future

As anyone who lives in a large American city can attest to, a sort-of food revolution has begun in small populations of Americans: whites with a certain level of income. However, the people who would be best served by an agricultural revolution that values quality over quantity, localism over the international trade of perishable food items such as rock hard tomatoes, wilted bell peppers, and iceberg lettuce, and an emphasis on seasonal eating, are being left out: the poor.

As incomes have dropped in America’s inner cities, vicious cycles have begun to develop as regards goods and services. Hospitals in inner cities (St. Michael’s in Milwaukee) have been forced to close and move to the suburbs in search of greater profitability, which is a different injustice for a different post altogether. And grocery stores have also moved to the peripheries of metro areas, leaving inner city residents–who largely get by on public transportation–without an affordable source of quality foods, and without a reliable source of health care: the brutal combination of which has had a devastating effect on the well being of millions of Americans in the form of increased Type II diabetes, asthma, etc.

As usually happens when we let the falsely titled “invisible hand” of capitalism rule over the business community, the poor are continually under-served. I believe that urban agriculture can provide good jobs, increase education among populations of Americans that no longer understand the value of good food or the consequences of a poor diet of processed food, decrease the cost of food for inner city residents (through decreased transportation, preservation, processing and handling costs), increase the availability of good food, help the city economy as a whole through import-substitution, and by providing an outlet for municipal waste (compost) that will help to close the nutrient loop that has been painfully, catastrophically severed since the onset of public sanitation.

If that last paragraph was a bit jargonistic, my apologies, but honestly, if things are going to be genuinely changed, they need to be attacked from technical (rather than amorphous, hippy-dippy, earth mother, divisive) language. Essentially, y’all should take a look at the conference website, check out the types of sponsorship organizations, speakers and workshops that will be happening. Its a good way to start understanding the causes of urban degradation in America, and to start looking at ways to remedy some of those neoliberal policies that have led to the shrinking middle class, the privatization and financialization of services, the resulting lack of accountability when the private sector gets involved in urban public policy formation, the increased efforts to get Americans to take on debt, and a number of other things that we as a society have refused–out of convenience, primarily–to see correctly: both the forest and the trees.

In addition, I will be adding to the links section of this site a number of urban agriculture websites and organizations that are helping to educate the public, that are trying to convince people that the separation of agriculture from cities, from urbanity was a catastrophic, artificial imposition.