FLOW: For the Love of Water

flow.jpgThousands have lived without love, not one without water.
— W. H. Auden

Like the earth itself, our bodies are 70 percent water. This also happens to be the proportion of our water supply that the agricultural industry consumes to bring food to our tables. No conversation about sustainable food systems can exclude the topic of water.

While water wars seem like the concerns of distant communities, experts predict that towns across the US will also soon be struggling to provide clean, affordable water to their citizens. An award-winning documentary, Flow, one of the post powerful and elegant films in the recent 3rd I Film Festival, tackles the complex issues embedded in a simple glass of water. From Bolivia to India, from Michigan to our very own California, access to water is being contested.

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Pfannkuchen: German Pancake

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The cookbook with the most stains in my collection is also the first one I ever bought: a copy of the 45th printing of the 1975 Joy of Cooking. It helped me survive my teen years, and then it helped me graduate from college with a bit more meat on my bones. I never did upgrade, and that white bible of the American kitchen (complete with its two silky red ribbons) is still my go-to tome for pancakes, muffins, cakes, pies, dinner rolls, dressings, and quick breads.

I’m still discovering new foods in its pages. A recent addition to our family favorites is a Tran variation on a Rombauer adaptation of a Davidis classic: German pancake with apples.

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Taste of Sebastopol

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Life’s little intersections can reveal deep connections, and sharing a meal is one of the most common ways that happens. A friend visiting from the east coast, John “Taiko Man” Ko introduced me to his drumming friend who invited us to dinner and then, the next thing, I’m learning all about my local community’s history and eating amazing food.

Hideaki Nishikura, a baker at Wild Flour Bread, took our intrepid New Yorker and me, along with a doting grandmother and a giggling son, on a personal tour of his hometown, Sebastopol. I feel privileged to have this insider’s peek into a little known community and hope to inspire a few of you to take the trek north to visit the town during this time when autumn’s colors and flavors are at their peak.

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Happy Belly’s Kimchi Dog

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Now that Namu is taking a break from serving lunch, to focus on opening a new deli at Balboa and 3rd, their outpost in the park, Happy Belly, has been receiving lots more visits from yours truly. The next time you’re strolling from the Conservatory over to the DeYoung or taking a break from Lindy in the Park, stop at this modest little hot dog cart and read the menu carefully.

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The Great American Soup

This 1970s commercial shows how to make a big production out of soup. Ann Miller was a much-loved dancer who was discovered before she even hit puberty right here in San Francisco at the historic and colorful Black Cat Cafe.

Eat your heart out, Ann Miller!

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