Archive for the 'Media' Category


Homegrown: The 21st Century Family Farm

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Just a mile from the skyscrapers of downtown Pasadena lies a tiny plot of land that has become the heart of an urban homesteading movement. The raised beds of the Dervaes family farm cover 1/10 of an acre. Imagine the area from a football field’s goal line to the very first 10-yard mark, or if you’re an average suburban homeowner, scan your backyard. Now, imagine harvesting 3 tons of organic food from this short span of soil every year.

Robert McFall’s documentary, Homegrown, is an intimate family portrait that reveals both the visionary inspiration and the resolute dedication required to grow one’s own food. For Jules and his adult children, Justin, Anais, and Jordanne, the Dervaes farm began as an experiment to see how much of their own food they could grow. A natural extension of the father’s experience during the back-to-the-land heyday of the 60s and 70s, their gardens soon led to living off-the-grid. They catch rainwater and recycle grey water, keep animals for manure and collect oil from nearby restaurants to produce their own biofuel. They order hand-cranked appliances from Amish catalogs. They put up their own green beans and illuminate their home with a self-reliant mix of olive oil lamps, biodiesel lamps, homemade candles, daylighting and the occasional fluorescent bulb.

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Hungry for Change: FOOD, INC.

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Last month, Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, an outspoken leader on food safety and animal rights, hosted a special screening of the documentary, FOOD, INC. for a roomful of legislators in Sacramento. Thanks to a friend who works at the capitol, I was able to sneak in. It’d been a very long time since I’ve been surrounded by that many people wearing suits, and discussing public policy is not one of my favorite ways to make small talk (SBX2 3 or SB 135, anyone?). But seeing this important film with a roomful of legislators who were excited about sustainable food and who could actually institute change was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had in a movie theatre.

You will soon be hearing a lot about FOOD, INC., a documentary directed by Robert Kenner, winner of both a Peabody and an Emmy for his previous film, Two Days in October. Opening in San Francisco on June 12, this latest release by Magnolia Pictures tackles the unenviable job of educating consumers about the agricultural industry. It’s being called the Inconvenient Truth of the food world, and the quality of its production certainly compares well. Super-saturated colors, animation, engaging graphics, a sprinkling of humor to lighten its distillation of immense amounts of information, and a line-up of articulate, passionate speakers all meld into a highly viewable documentary.

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Campfire Shrimp Boil

Monday, September 1st, 2008

campfire-shrimp.jpg Every Labor Day weekend, Joshua and Jineui gather 30 or so lucky friends for a four-day camping extravaganza by Manresa State Beach. This is not a hardcore outdoor experience — this year, there was a badminton game going near a very well stocked bar and a four-burner kitchen set up within snacking distance of our tents. For the price of an hour of downtown parking, some of us could even enjoy a hot shower. It’s definitely more about extreme eating and drinking that any thing resembling “camping,” but there aren’t too many things that bond people together better than wide, shaded hammocks or Scrabble marathons or jumping and screaming together in the ocean’s cold waves.

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Taste of Asia

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be moderating a panel discussion at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum’s Taste of Asia. Kevin Blum from The City Dish, Marcia Gagliardi from tablehopper.com, Nish Nadaraja from Yelp, and Pim Techamuanvivit from Chez Pim will share their insights on how online communities have changed the landscape of the restaurant world.

It should be an interesting conversation, as yours truly comes from traditional media (those fuddy-duddy, dead-tree newspapers, magazines, and books) and is always struck speechless by the museum’s sexualized marketing of Asia and usually prefers a nice, simple, home-cooked dinner to most restaurant meals. And yes, has her own blog.

Culinary Seminars:
Saturday, April 26, 2008
1:00 – 2:00 pm
Asian Art Museum
200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, California
$25, includes admission to all exhibits. For more information, call 415-581-3788.


New additions to WanderingSpoon.com

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

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If one of the outer circles of hell were reserved for hoarders of kitchen tools, then yours truly already has a place reserved for her to peel and scrape, slice and dice for all of eternity. Fortunately, in my current incarnation, I can write about my habit so that you, dear reader, can choose more wisely.

With two new entries on my “What’s this?” page, I share some simple yet useful utensils for cooks who actually cook.

I’ve also added my latest favorites: a book on traditional Japanese packaging, paper-mache bowls, and a staple from my pantry. All are short and sweet.

Happy spring!

Thy