Confessions of a Pig Replicator

Some things are best left unsaid, and my experience as a pig cloner comes up in conversations only to cause nervous twitching on the part of my listeners. “How”, they wonder, “could someone dedicated to conservation and the environment wander off into the black art of biotechnology?” During the years when I was raising heritage breeds of livestock in Maine, I found that one of our precious swine bloodlines was drying up. The farm, founded for the purpose of conserving rare breeds of livestock, Read more [...]

Our Global Kitchen

I recently visited the new exhibit at The American Museum of Natural History in New York called Our Global Kitchen, Food, Nature, Culture. As more and more Americans learn about their food, they can now feast on a museum exhibit that attempts to tell the whole story. To tackle food as a broad subject is to launch upon a vast ocean in a small barque amidst thousands of hidden reefs. Topics such as genetic modification of foods lurk beneath the surface of most conversations about food. But this Read more [...]

Horse Sense about Our Food System

The daily revelations emerging from the discovery of horsemeat in lasagna purchased in Ireland reveal the complexities of our food system. When EU health commissioners tracked down the source of the horsemeat, they found a trail that passed through multiple countries, processors, dealers, brokers, Romania, England, Cyprus, Poland, the Netherlands, and in some cases, through illegal hands. Since much of our meat is processed, ground up, blended with flavorings, shaped into meatballs and stuffed into Read more [...]

What I Should Have Said at TED

Many of us wish for an opportunity to share our latest projects, especially if we’re crazy-passionate about it. Speaking at a TED conference is one of those opportunities. Recently, I had the privilege of speaking at the TEDx Austin event.  As a speaker, I was witness to the miracle of a TEDx event, a day-long immersion into the inspiring and motivating lives of the speakers and attendees. My talk came at the end of the day, and although I prepared for this talk more than I had ever prepared Read more [...]

Early Californians lusted after gold

In November’s Meatpaper: Issue 19, you’ll find this essay, a short piece inspired by a trip I took with my dear friend, Linda.   Early Californians lusted after gold, traveling up and over the chiseled granite Sierra Nevada on their way to the Gold Country. Two summers ago, a dear friend and I had high prospects of climbing Mt. Whitney, repeating the trek we had previously taken over thirty years ago. We hove up and over the majestic peak before returning to our encampment at the base Read more [...]

The Coming Food Bubble

Over fifteen years ago, Rob Savenor, owner of Boston’s Beacon Hill grocery store, sat with me on his loading dock to discuss how much he’d pay me for my leg of lamb. I had traveled to Boston from my farm in Maine with a cooler full of “heritage” meat. “Heritage” is a term used by foodies, even then, to describe meat from a few remaining breeds raised by farmers centuries ago. Much like heirloom seeds, these animals are no longer commercially viable and so are left to conservationists, Read more [...]

Eating in the Box

Eating out of the box, in the box, and from the box is a culinary activity that is drawing new and fortuitous attention. Eating OUT of the box is the challenge issued by food nutritionists and foodies who want consumers to resist the temptation to buy processed, ready-made meals that are sold in microwaveable boxes. Eating IN the box is an activity that takes place in large, industrial buildings owned by such behemoths as Wal-Mart and Costco. Those “big box” enterprises are often castigated for Read more [...]

Game Day

University of Texas: 33 Iowa State University 7 Fans 3   I take pity on anyone who asks me to join them for a meal. It’s nearly impossible for me to suspend my intense occupation with food and sometimes, which must at times be almost unbearable, if not embarrassing.  My hosts at this weekend’s football game put up with my challenge to find healthy food at the stadium. At University of Texas at Austin Darrel K. Royal Stadium that weekend, the Longhorn football team emerged the victor Read more [...]

Michael Pollan at Austin’s Paramount Theater

Michael Pollan recently spoke to a packed house here in Austin, Texas. The audience included members of “The Food Movement,” as Pollan called them, as well as his many loyal readers. His message was simple, direct, and eloquent. Eat simply, know where your food comes from and ….. beware of capitalism. Six years ago, I attended a talk by Mr. Pollan in a small Cambridge, MA bookstore when his now award-winning book came out, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The audience was about a tenth of the size Read more [...]


In.gredients, a new Austin food startup, promises to change the way we shop for food. When the company’s founders announced its plan to eliminate wasteful packaging, foodies and the media celebrated the merits of the new enterprise, hopeful that in.gredients customers would arrive at the new store with reusable and recycled bags and containers. The founders announced they would provide package-free food that would begin the march towards a zero-waste food system. Major media outlets such as The Read more [...]