A Palate for Plastic? No Way!

Gregory, the Terrible Eater was forced to eat junk which for his family meant literal garbage. It’s a cute 1980s children’s book about choosing healthy eating, but sadly that choice isn’t exactly a reality today. You’ve likely seen some of the heartbreaking images of plastic waste killing marine and wildlife. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that a recent study reveals humans are ingesting 50,000 particles of microplastic a year and breathing in a similar quantity. We are now involuntary consumers of plastic, literally, and our planet is being consumed by it.  How can we stop this if, as consumers, most everything is made with or comes in plastic?

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Eat Retro: Blessed Be Ugly Food!

It wasn’t until I had immersed myself in Depression-Era and WWI cook books in 2015 that I developed the “courage” to create simple dishes with quality ingredients that fall out of range of preconceived ideas of good taste. Good home cooking to me has evolved to mean honest, sometimes quirky, unpretentious fare that takes the pressure off to audition for a show on the Food Network. This humble dish may not be Instagram-worthy, but so what?! It was a wholesome, healthy, thrifty delicious dinner made from food that in the past would have been discarded.

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Holiday Weekend Gardening

Wayne has been working six days a week for the past couple of weeks, so a three day weekend gave him more time….to work on our organic vegetable garden! I selected our annuals and living accents. Here’s how it all came together:

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Out Picking: Antique Embalming Fluid Crates from Boston!

This past Sunday on the way to church Wayne and I stopped at the flea market, or rather, he sat in the car to read the New Yorker as I made my rounds. I had decided earlier in the week that the antique primitive jelly cupboard that I had repurposed into a shoe closet in my home office is too glorious to not be in my kitchen. I simply needed to find three antique crates that would stack nicely to coordinate with the others I had to take its place.

While I think it’s a sin to pray for material possessions, especially luxury wishes, the flea market fairies with whom I had shared my wishes delivered in a very crafty way! The price was right and I carried my new treasure all the way back to the car which, true to a flea find, was dusty and a bit dirty. It left some light soiling on my chinos as it brushed up against my legs as I walked. Yikes! I quickly decided it was simply a patina on my pants and it was fine for church.

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Let’s Dish: Sustainable Soap

When I gave up Facebook for Lent (I’m keeping my Facebook account because I use it to log into other accounts but am hardly on it now), I was more present. I began to pay attention to waste in our house and wondered how we could become more kind in our consumption…and cleaning. I was no longer OK with buying bottled dish soap (we do ours by hand) and hand soap due to the plastic waste. I had read online that some people were using Dr. Bronner’s Castile bar soap for both their dishes and hands, but Dr. Bronner’s contains palm oil. Palm oil and its derivatives are in almost everything including and especially soap which isn’t always clearly labelled. Why is that of concern? The cultivation of palm oil is destroying rainforests and killing orangutans and other wildlife. I’m also not sure I trust “sustainably sourced” palm claims. So what would be the best choice?

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Early Garden Prep

We’ve been having a record-breaking cold and rainy spring so far but it’s still time to start with gardening prep, both ornamental and vegetable. It might seem strange to those not from Maine to think of people flocking to the plant nurseries in wet and blustery cold weather to buy annuals that will only live for a short season. It makes complete sense, however! Summer in Maine is a Very Special Occasion deserving of festive flowers and the planting beautiful life forms. It’s still too early to plant, but never too soon to buy as long as you can keep the plants warm.

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A Simple Truth: Dairy Farming is the Veal Industry.

I’ve previously mentioned on my blog that I once lived down the road from a lovely (now defunct) small family-owned dairy with very happy-looking cows. I enjoyed gazing out at them as they grazed on grass. Sometimes when they were close to the fence by the road I would talk to them. (No one else was around.) This image of dairy cows stuck with me and was a model of everything that industrial factory farming is not. However, it wasn’t until a local news story came out about Peace Ridge Sanctuary that provides a forever home and care for formerly abused and neglected farm animals that I learned that veal production is the “byproduct” of dairy farming. Cows give birth to both bull calves and heifers, but only the female calves will go on to produce milk. So what happens to the baby bull calves, and does buying organic or from a small farm make a difference in their fate? 

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My Repurposed Antique Cedar Chest Coffee Table

I had purchased our previous coffee table at an estate sale about ten years ago straight from an in-law house with early 1970s furnishings. I liked it at the time (never loved it) up until this past weekend after I visited an acquaintance living in a 200 plus year old home. I loved the look of an antique blanket chest as a coffee table which they had in their living room, so much so that when I got home I decided I wanted a “new” coffee table. Antique blanket chests can be quite expensive and I don’t see them often at estate sales. Then I remembered the cedar chest in the sunroom!

When I bought it (also at an estate sale and it was packed with vintage linens) it was covered with watered down white paint, so we had covered it up and been using for storage and gardening supplies. Inspired, I went into the sunroom with a scouring pad, sponge and soapy water.

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Recipe: Traditional Maine Baked Beans

Baked beans and church bean “suppahs” are a staple of Maine’s food culture. They are healthy, wholesome, nutritious, economical and delicious. Using a few simple inexpensive ingredients you can make a large pot of beans to serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

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