Wednesday, June 28, 2006

the future of food: take two

so exciting! so diverse!
you just never know where Your Favorite Tif's day will lead.
this morning i was on the farm at Raphael Garden, mucking Bella's stall with Max.
this afternoon, i was sitting in a senate hearing committee room in the state capitol.
the bill on the surface: to let the state have a uniform regulation for seed policy, "regarding the registration, labeling, sale, storage, transportation, distribution, notification of use, and actual use of seeds."
the bill underneath (and not very far underneath): to make sure that no county passes laws to say that GMO's are illegal. several counties, such as santa cruz and mendocino, had already done this. there were several polished and car-salesman-ish agri-business representatives and farmers who gave smiley speeches about "what i should be allowed to do with my private property," and even claims of how GM crops are beneficial to surrounding wildlife. a crowd of folks~~many of whom looked sun-worn and fresh-from-the-field (as were my crew ~ we did shower before we went!), scientists, mothers, students, restaurant-owners, organic gardeners and farmers, all came out in opposition of the proposal. as many as were allowed gave impassioned speeches, including Jeff (a bio-engineering PHD-turned-biodynamic farmer, and Harald ~ whose heartfelt, gentle and non-judmental address received an ovation (which was quickly hushed by crowd-control). they even sited the fact that organically grown products are the fastest growing market in the state at this time.
the committee seemed to have their minds made up before we got there with our sunburned speeches. they voted unanimously to pass the proposal, the chairwoman giving an almost-apologetic excuse-laden uneducated and faltering reproval to those of us who didn't care to step into the 21st century with its enlightened, technologically-advanced agricultural "industry." "we're all eating it already, right? it's what's on the grocery shelves. none of us has died from it yet!" hmmm. .
as we were leaving i realized that was the most fired-up hot-under-the-collar i'd been in a while. california oftentimes fits its stereotype of being liberal free-thinking and progressive. in that capitol building it just seemed like another cog in the huge conventional beaurocratic Big Money machine that supports that guy in the oval office. i remembered why i had been so discouraged after helping with the Kucinich campaign. :(
and yet, there was Harald ~ smiling and soothing ~ positive as ever, encouraged that there was even a glimmer of hope, and that someone for a moment might have listened, been educated, or interested to learn more. i think our future holds more Haralds than sour-puss tifs. . . miles from the farm, i learned much from him that afternoon.


on an as-yet undiscovered day.

i am honored to say, I Knew You When.
and so so grateful to say i know you now.


the art is in the living.
you now may lift your brush.

Friday, June 23, 2006


add another to my menagerie.
~~tif's foster home for wayward microbeasties~~
i've just adopted a kombucha mommy!!!
joanne, our chef assistant in class, brought in her pitcher of kombucha, a veritable extended family of kombucha babies and mothers just begging for a new home and some food.
the "mothers" (some people call them "mushrooms"~~but they're not; so why not just have fun and anthropomorphize? that's what i'm sayin'. ) are whitish gelatinous discs~~colonies of yeasts and bacteria~~that create what we call kombucha. you can pick one up and it holds its form. it reminds me of an alien or alien brain (of all the ones i've seen in my experience. . !).
so. i had already made a tea ~ of black tea and organic white sugar ~ and dumped a starter-bottle of live kombucha tea (with floaties) in there already.
so when i got home, i just tipped over the mason transport-jar and let the big thick mommy slide on out into the waiting tea. by morning, it was effervescing, forming mounds of tiny white bubbles on top. and it smells great. vinegary, but still sweet with unkombucha'd sugar.

it is my intention to keep you updated on the (ever-so-fascinating! i know. ;) progress of our kombucha baby via my food blog, food-a-file (i already started it! ~ ). and you know i'll take photos!

for an extensive and amusingly anecdotal article about kombucha, its origins, and health benefits go here:

the kombucha with mommy floating, bubbles bubbling.
close up.
with her breathable linen hat on, which she wears in the cool cupboard downstairs.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Raphael Garden

procrastinating homework is a great time to fill you in on my ever-distracting extra-curriculars:

i have two volunteer jobs: one at Three Stone Kitchen in Berkeley ~ a brand-new Community Supported Kitchen cooperatively run by Jessica Prentice (author of my newest most-influential book, _Full_Moon_Feast_) and a few of her Berkeley culinary cohorts (more on them when i can tell you more). it's just now up and running this week, doing a catering job everyday. it's been fun working in a restaurant-kitchen environment again, especially now that i know a little more about cooking, and get to help, instead of just bussing and waiting tables (like i did at alfalfa restaurant [in lovely lexington, ky] years ago~~wow! it HAS been years!! )

the second one is east of sac-town, at Raphael Garden~~a Biodynamic farm that is a part of Rudolph Steiner College, which borders a Waldorf School.
( ) the teacher there, Harald Hoven, is so wise, gentle, and generous with his knowledge (light-hearted, too!). it is really laid-back to work around him. i feel blessed getting to share space with him. the garden is so beautiful and feels very whole and nurturing. the apprentices who tend the garden with Harald on a full-time basis seem sincere and happy for the experience (envious, here!). compared to the rest of my commuting-busy life, the farm feels like a retreat and respite where things move much more slowly and naturally. aaahhh!

please visit the full gallery at:

Sunday, June 18, 2006

fammin' in san fran part two: fam takes NorCal

in the second and final installation of this volume of Fammin' in San Fran, we leave the City and head for the countryside of NorCal (that's Northern California, for all'a y'all Outta-Staters). we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge (continually being painted: International Orange~~ ), drove thru the dairycow-dotted hills of Petaluma, into Wine Country. we toured and we tasted we sight-saw and we got lost, and found. . . our way to Field Stone Winerey, where we picnicked on fine local cheeses and breads, dips and sauces (the BEST dipping oil i've ever tasted: Stonehouse Extra Virgin Dipping Oil), local organic strawberries and grapes, and enjoyed Field Stone's 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon. the scenic route back to Sac, and dinner Chez Tif. girls-against-boys for late-night Cranium. next morning was Our Favorite Breakfast at:
the Fox and Goose~~a local English-style pub with housemade scones, and menu-items such as crumpets, Welsh Rarebit, Bangers, and free-range eggs. we did a quick tour of the State Capitol Building, and extensive tours of the succulent and rose gardens outside on the grounds. the roses~~soaking up the intense summer rays~~were SOOO incredibly brilliant and fragrant!!! each variety had its own nuanced nose-rainbow of perfume. i wanted to smell every-single rose. unfortunately, we had to hustle back to san fran to deposit them back at the hotel for their flight home. :(
this was the longest and best visit i've had with my mom in years. the last time we had a full-on vacation together was probably when i was in high school. i felt really comfortable with her and was pleased to be able to show her my happy life out here in Sunny California. this was also the first time she had ever gotten to spend any time around Sealion, and it went totally smooooth (we all know what a lady-charmer that boy is.. !). another first: Mom and i drinking together! HA! that manages to take any Edges off a possibly awkward visit with New Family. her new husband Chris is a sweety. he is very sensitive and considerate and easy-going, and treats Mom like a queen. frustratingly (and amusingly) i experienced some of my teenage Bitchy Critical-ness in Dealing with Mom's Men bucking hard to rear its head. i hope i didn't make it too rough on the poor guy!! his daughter~~my new step-sister~~Becca, is a trip!! she is full of spice and spunk and independence. she loves to try new things and do things on her own, and at the same time is always tending to everyone to make sure they're taken care of. i really enjoyed getting to know her.
i was sad to see them go.

photos here:
the griswolds do NorCal,
Roses at the Capitol ~ so bright! so fragrant!
Mom strikes a pose,
fammin' at home,
Sonoma picnic

please peruse the gallery, "fun for the whole family!" at:

Friday, June 16, 2006

babe in squash land

squash jungle mommy is heavy with wee squash babies.
sealion and i excitedly helped her deliver her first plump yellow offspring.
she glows with pride.

he's the cutest cat in the neighborhood!
amer-i-can ro-dol-fo ca-AT!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

fammin' in san fran

to fam:
v: to take part in the tourist activities the local area has to offer, as you might never do without the excuse of visitors.
i.e. "we totally fammed Napa this weekend." or, "have you been famming in the City? there are a lot of fun tours and gardens i didn't know about." "is there famming in Sacramento, or is it just the home of the Governator?"
i think this term will really take off; try it. ;-D

my mom, her new husband, Chris, and his daughter, Becca, are visiting san fran this week!
this was my first time meeting my new step-sister. she's a super-spunky 12-year old with a good head on her shoulders (as opposed to growing out of her kneecap.. !). she's a whole lot of fun. :)
sealion and i rode in and met them for dinner on saturday pm (at a brewery on embarcadero~~ Gordon Biersch) before sealion had to head to work.
i spent a coupla days with them, seeing the sights~~ fammin' it~~around the city. i played tour guide (a new one for sure. . ) this was my first time navigating san fran on my own (with Becca's help!). the most i'd done by myself before now was to take BART in, to one specific location (the UG auditions), and leave the same way i came. we got 3-day MUNI passes, and used them to ride the trolley, street cars, and buses.
we started out safe with the Wharf area, Tourist Central, on sunday. the sidewalk performers were out in full effect, as were the crowds. we shopped for Becca a t-shirt, visited the Musee' Mechanique (a place with mechanical coney island-style amusement-before-arcade&video-games), pier 39's sealions, toured Boudin's Bakery and Museum (cool!! yummy!!), and Ghirardelli Square with free samples (yum again!). it was overcast, cool, and breezy. i ended up buying mittens (socks), a hat and scarf before long, and we stopped more than once for warm drinks (The Original irish coffee, anyone? at Buena Vista. . ).
the hotel hot tub was a must that evening!!
next morning we headed via street car to the Mission, and toured the original san fran mission ~~Mission Dolores~~ before having crepes at Ti Couz (YUM!!!!!!), just down the street. seafood crepes.. salmon and sauteed onion, and tomato and cheese crepes, followed by a lemon sorbet dessert crepe (yes, please!!). as well as deliciousity, Ti Couz served up coolitude, as well: Becca ordered lemonade, and the server brought out the fixins for "mix yer own" lemonade: an iced glass of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, a carafe of water, and a bottle of sugar-water (simple syrup). Becca's mix was perfect.
we walked off brunch on the hills of Haight Street on our way to Golden Gate Park. Mom enjoyed the painted ladies along the way. we toured the Botanical Gardens (which i wanna revisit again and again!!), and the Japanese Tea Garden. always awesome.
we bussed it back downtown to the hotel and then trolleyed it (Becca got to hang on on the side in the front! she said the driver went "too slow!!" down the big hills!) down to the Wharf where we met sealion for dinner at the Franciscan~~a restaurant with fresh crab anyway you wanna eat it (yum yet again!!) and a sweet view of the bay at sunset.
tomorrow sealion and i are planning on picking them up for a driving tour of the Napa area, and dinner chez tif in sac. :)

photos here: lemon sorbet dessert crepe a la Ti Couz,
Becca does the trolley,
bread bear at the Boudin Bakery Museum,
saint in the garden,
Mom and Chris at the bus stop.

now i direct you to my .mac website, where you can view my gallery:

"to 'fam' means to visit tourist attractions.
remember: to 'fam' means to visit tourist attractions!"

Friday, June 09, 2006


well~~trying to separate Food from My Life is like.. well: pick a cliche'.
y'all know better; there is no tif without food
so i'm no longer keeping a separate blog for food, at least for now. i don't have time for it and haven't done anything with it anyway.
SO let me tell ya a little somethin' i been up to:

i have a little menagerie of microorganisms in the kitchen!
i've been greatly inspired by Jessica Prentice, and her new book, _Full_Moon_Feast_ (highly recommended), and the awesome exhaustive-yet-relaxed how-to, _wild_fermentation_, by Sandor Ellix Katz. it's the best!!

so far i've made kefir ( similar to yogurt, with a bit more tAnG ),
i'm fostering a sourdough starter, and just finished putting my first batch of yogurt in its warm incubator home.
the kefir "grains" were given to me by one of my teachers at Bauman~~Julie, and the sourdough starter was given to me by my new friend Coronado.

the kefir is pre-school easy: pour some milk ( i used whole, raw, from a local dairy~~Claravale Farms) over the kefir grains in a sterile jar, and let it sit out for a few days.
if the lid is on tight, it becomes effervescent, and needs to be opened once a day. shake it up to keep it all mixed up, or let it be, and you have a sour-cream-type spread. refrigerate. you can take the "grains" out, and use them again for something else, or for more kefir.

the sourdough was started with a grape in a whole wheat flour-and-water mixture. the grape was discarded once the stew began to bubble.
i added a few more spoonfuls of water and flour (and some leftover quinoa), and keep it in my sunny kitchen sill during the day. it's been developing for about a week now.

for the yogurt, i (gently) heated whole raw milk on the stove until it began to bubble. stirring. then i let it cool till i could stick my clean finger in it, and it still felt hot. I mixed in a tablespoon of active yogurt (Straus!). I poured it into a preheated steril jar, and stuck the jar in a preheated (with hot water) cooler.
in about twelve hours, i'll check it to see how it tastes.


kefir and kefir baby
sourdough in the jungle window
cooking the milk
the yogurt incubator
yogurt jar

happy birthday, brer!!

he is thirty years gorgeous today!!

if you see this guy out tonight or sometime soon, buy him a pint, and ask him to tell you about:

the shopping cart,
the couch cushion, and
the hat. . .

soul twin: so honored to know you all these years. this decade-plus has been an amazing journey. i look forward to where the next one takes us.. and the decade after that. .and.. ! :-D

the future of food

i know i'm preachin' to the choir in most cases, but i still gotta tell ya~~and i almost hate to, but i still gotta: recommend you all see

The Future of Food

tragic, horrifying, dispicable, and down-right dirty-evil.
i felt like vomiting most of the way through it, with the burden of it.

when you watch it~~make sure you're eating organic popcorn!!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

rodolfo in the squash jungle

in our lovely backyard here at "the" 510 in downtown sac-o-tomatoes.
rod-loflin the epicure samples yet another green blade.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


as most of you may have gathered, and several of my closest loved-ones have commented on, i keep my cards pretty close to my chest. if you hear about it, i'm already doing it, or it's already been done. i rarely tell people about what i strive toward~~my dreams, visions, or even plans unless they're pretty solidified, or common knowledge. psychoanalyze as we might, that's been a long-held trait in the Land of Tif (Ye Olde Towne of Tiffe). some traditions are worth cherishing, some might be used selectively, and some can just go ahead and be written off as old, worn-out habits.
tonight i want to share a vision that sweet sealion and i hold together that is Far-Reaching, Important, and Visionary. my intent is not only to fill ya in, but also to ask that you might support this vision with us, so that it might be clearer, and the universal flow even more intensively catalyzed. get it?

i promised i'd tell you about paradise, so here it is:
paradise is a little rectangle of dirt in a village called La Ribera (depending on who's spelling it), Baja California Sur, Mexico. if you look at the map of Baja~~it's down there underneath C-A, USA, La Ribera is at the tippy-bottom, below the Tropic of Cancer, and up the Sea of Cortez just enough~~just enough so that the water is turquoise and aqua, calm with pretty, gentle waves, and soothingly warm in the summer. this little rectangle of dirt is just a kilometer's drive (we were in a rental car that registered metric; i don't) from the cream-sanded beach~~and much closer, "as the crow flies". a freshwater lagoon sits in between. on the land there is already a hacienda~~a U-shaped building with an atrium in the middle, where pomegranite trees grow, and a gate that leads out back. there are two wells, and a broad, flat, open field that is fertile and well-loved.
when we see this house, we see an open-door hostel, where travellers and seekers can rest and be nourished. we see a retreat for magic-makers and dreamweavers. a ready canvas for art, and inspiration for song and dance. this is a place where folks are welcome to simply contribute love and energy if they don't have cash in their pockets, a place where people may connect and reconnect. and hopefully leave a little bit more educated and whole.
when we see the land around the hacienda we see a green oasis, with fruit-bearing trees, and all kinds of veggies and flowers, paths that meander through shade, and nooks that house palapas and hammocks. who knows what kinda animal might be grazing underfoot, whether it be winged, hooved, pawed, or tiny sticky-handed human.
this is a place where all of my passions and interests might coexist in harmony, and all of the "hobbies" i pick up along the way actually make sense. that beautiful sealion gets to put his elegant fishing skills to use. to slow down, sun-up, and work at the handy-crafts that make him so happy. he gets to look at the stars.
i have had this dream for years and years, probably starting when i was a kid. it was something i always imagined to be "in the future," maybe when i "retired" (from whatever career was going to materialize). my activity-at-hand has shifted from one to another (and another and another), but the skills i learned along the way seem to all come together here, now. as i continue to let go of trying to Will my life into some kind of Acceptable catagory and labelled box, details fall into place in a seamless, extraordinarily quick fashion that could not be orchestrated by my own design, except that they are exactly as i dreamed, yet didn't know how to make tangible. as for sealion, i am still reeling in the knowledge that he envisions it too, with me. it's a huge commitment~~within ourselves, and to each other. this is the part i am most confident in.
if it doesn't pan out exactly as we imagine it and are working toward, we can now say with the certainty of experience that something even better will. and this initial step is essential, if nothing else, in our realizing that this is something we truly desire.

as for details~~this place is just down the road from the Buddhist center that Dr. Milesy and company are underway with, which is directly across the road from an AMAZING organic botanical garden run by a powerhouse of a couple ~Gabriel and Kitzia~ and their crew.
for travel~~although it's off a dirt road, La Ribera is only an hour and some minutes (depending on who's driving, and how many free-range cattle you encounter) from the international airport at San Jose del Cabo.
sport fishing is the biggest recreational draw to this particular area (especially for the towns directly north), and diving and seakayaking are also popular (around the coral reef just south).
it's "dry tropic", as Gabriel told us; the area gets only a few inches of rain per year, although there is officially a rainy season in the hot hot hot of the year. cool temps reach the high 40's.

so here it is: i'm putting it out there, for Goddess and Everyone to see. may the intention be blessed.

Let It Be.

here's a map:,-95.677068&sspn=65.263254,107.929688&q=baja+california+sur&t=h&om=0&ll=23.380077,-109.926453&spn=1.207562,1.686401

photos (in blogger-random order): "i see it!",
la hacienda,
the lagoon,
the beach,
the gate to the magical atrium