The Art of Cookbooks

Cookbooks offer a special challenge for information design, as their pages must suceed at both seduction and instruction, luring and reassuring their readers. Bookstore shelves may bend from the weight of gorgeous, glossy tomes, yet home cooks are still increasingly kitchen-phobic. How do writers, artists and designers work together to produce pretty pages with error-proof recipes? Continue reading “The Art of Cookbooks”

How Chicken Became the First White Meat

In 1956, farmers received their first batch of coccidiostat, a drug that fights parasites appearing in large concentrations of chickens and turkeys. Over time, some of those farmers were able to move their backyard flocks into 3-story structures with 30,000 birds a floor, thus finally competing in price with the more efficient beef industry.

One of the most important forces in this change was Max Tishler, a chemist at Merck who led the development of medicines essential to modern husbandry. His invention “made possible a great expansion of the poultry industry and created overnight a new field for research–an event of great magnitude for agriculture.” Tishler’s research in vitamins and hormones led to drugs and vaccines for humans as well as animals, including a family of compounds that led to effective treatment of river blindness, a disease common in undeveloped, tropical countries. To learn more about the state of the poultry industry today, read updates at:
National Sustainable Agriculture
The Poultry Site
The California Poultry Federation
International Poultry Expo

Alternative Press Expo 2006

The APE returned to San Francisco last week. With hundreds of artists, writers and publishers of alternative, self-published, hand-made comics showing their latest work, I knew my one-day pass (even with its snazzy ball chain) wouldn’t give me enough time. Fortunately, I had a singular mission: Find the food. Continue reading “Alternative Press Expo 2006”

“Did you just feel something, too?”

Before the sun rose on April 18, 1906, an earthquake shook the City of San Francisco. It leveled buildings and, even worse, caused devastating fires that raged for days.  Those of us who live near one or two or three fault lines try not to think too much about the probablity of a repeat performance.  The local government, on the other hand, has lots of good advice about stockpiling water and stashing away food, enough to carry us through the 72 hours we can expect to wait for help to arrive post-disaster. It’s useful information for folks outside of California, too, like my sister who lives smack in the middle of Tornado Alley or my parents, who are heading off soon to a peaceful retirement on Pine Island…off the Gulf Coast of  Florida. Crazy family.