Rabbit Could be the Most Sustainable Meat to Consume for Americans Part 1

In the light of economic, global and dietary climate concerns, why not begin to consider rabbit as an alternative to chicken?

“Floppy” was a Friend

As a youth, rabbit was frequently prepared at the home of my grandparents. From rural Texas and Central Louisiana, they had a friend from whom they purchased rabbit, venison, seasonal fish and game fowl. The meats they sourced were reminiscent of their childhoods. Meal preparations were simple, hearty and delicious. My grandmother’s gravy, often from the smothering of chicken, rabbit or liver, is the best I’ve had to date. When available, the rabbit’s gravy was often a delightful and substantial breakfast. My perception of the delectable rabbit has never changed. The night my father brought home a lovely, young, white flippity-flop as a reward for receiving straight A’s on my report card, I considered the new pet “possible food.” I never forgot about Grandmother’s delicious smothered rabbit. I knew one day, “Floppy’s” fate would be met. My father, an animal lover and a country boy, was not above spinning a yarn and serving us the beloved pet for dinner. Although it never happened, I reminded myself daily of the possibility.

Reacquaintance with a Childhood Friend

I didn’t eat rabbit again until I was 27 years old when my friends held their first annual “Who’s the Betty to Beat” cook-off. Participants drew vintage Betty Crocker recipe cards and were challenged to recreate the dish with personal touch, modern flair and “Betty Crocker-ness.” My card was “Chicken Cacciatore.” I elected to use rabbit to replace the chicken as my personal touch and modern flair, as I had grown weary of chicken. As the default protein, served regularly, eaten nearly daily and often featured, chicken and I had developed a relationship which required a generous amount of space. A short time passed and again, I ate rabbit. I worked as a waitress at a local, regional Italian kitchen. With great enthusiasm, I’d sell the house preparation, “cacciatore” or “in the style of the hunter.” The rabbit’s leg quarters were braised in stock, wine, tomatoes, carrots and onions served fork tender, as a panino with montasio and sour cabbage. It was often my shift meal before I left the restaurant to begin my nightly haunt.

Bugs Never Surrenders, without a Catch

The healthiest meat for consumers comes at a cost which is considerably higher than all other regularly consumed meats in the U.S. A whole rabbit now costs around $7.50/lb (up from $6.00/lb on average, in 2013) for a five-pound fryer with organs. Yet, rabbit is rapidly becoming, the original “other white meat” amongst the adventurous cooks, diners, and crowds who support sustainability. Rabbit is a specialty item typically found on menus of European restaurants. Higher costs are directly related to the rate at which the meat is consumed and produced. Now, rabbits are locally grown, small farmed products and are not subsidized by the United States government.
What this means for the consumer is meat that is low in fat and rich in flavor, at lower costs for higher quality. . . if you chose to raise them at home. At lower prices, is it not something to consider? Rabbits are the simplest of animals to butcher at home. They are also safer to consume as they have a lower cooking temperature, are raised off the ground, can be easily raised at home, and in nearly any climate for the highest quality production.

A Long Way to Hippity-hop…

Historically, a food of the rural dwellers of meager means world wide, in America, rabbits have maintained the profile of friend, favorite furry and giver of eggs, as per its association with Easter. As times shift, so will the role of rabbits. The costs and consumer ranking amongst America’s top consumed meats will also shift. And we will look forward to innovative creations from “foodies”, research and production from the environmentally conscious and advocates, all working to continue to shine new light on the rational delicacy.

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

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This Christmas, I visited Vancouver, British Columbia. This was especially wonderful because two things I enjoy most were stationed in the same place: my little sister and the wines of Western Canada.

The Pacific Northwest has been one of my long time favored regions of wine production. I prefer the complexity, depth and character of these wines and champion them among some of the world’s best. Vines in this region sit in great company with other worldly regional favorites such as Burgundy & Loire Valley of France, the Piedmont of Northern Italy, the Ribera del Duero & Rioja of Spain.

What can I say, I’m just different, though I live in California when I shop, I look first for wines from the Pacific Northwest: Oregon, Washington State and British Columbia. Even in Northern California, it’s challenging to walk in to a local shop and discover tastes from British Columbia. There simply isn’t enough produced and Canadians like to drink their own, in country.

I was in wine enthusiast heaven when I walked in a local chain in Davie, Vancouver and found a generous selection of British Columbia wines at a price point of around half of what they can be found for, if found, in the states!!!!
I grabbed three bottles which would be around $30 American dollars: 1) Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Rsv. Merlot 2013 Okanagan Valley 2) Inniskillin Okanagan Estate Pinot Noir 2014 Okanagan Valley and 3) Red Rooster Cabernet Merlot 2013 British Columbia.
My favorite of the three has been the Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Reserve Merlot 2013. This wine is precisely what I wanted when I walked into the wine shop. It was cold with mixed snow a day rain and I had arrived by train a couple of days prior and had yet to have a proper glass of wine. I wanted something delicious and comfortable, rich, warm and thought provoking. These guys did it in style!

The notes I have for you are taken over a three day period. My nose in the glass gave an evolving spicy bramble berry jam with hints of cedar, toasted oak, dried strawberry and plumbing fruit rollup.

On the palatte, the wine was rich and lush. The full-bodied red was elegant, graceful and bold. The chewy, yet delicate texture was supple and grounded with notes of right h, this kind velvety mocha….no vanilla, just mature, unlike the California mellows of the same price point. The deep purple juice splashed with firm, dignified tannins which left my mouth feeling coated like a soft velour throw. The mid-palatte was filled with red and black fruit, plums, blackberries, prunes and dried strawberry. The total composition finished with light cedar.

This wine is perfectly flawless. It would be great with steak, grilled lamp chops, spices rubbed grilled pork, ribs, beef stew or just with popcorn and a movie.
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Bowie and Me

It must have been the spirits connecting who persuaded me to stay up late last night and watch the Bowie documentary I recorded over Christmas so you can imagine my shock this morning to hear he had died around the same time.

I am not going to pretend I knew him well, I wasn’t a girlfriend but for a small moment we held hands, snuggled up and kissed. I met Bowie after the singer Danny Williams (Moonriver) was brought to our flat. I think Greg Edwards had already left Manchester but the guy who brought Williams didn’t know that. The three of us went into town. I think to the Explosion club where DJ Dave Eager brought Bowie and persuaded me to get them into the Time and Place. I was happy to do so because though Bowie was excited to meet Williams I didn’t like the crooner so off we went.

Eager lived quite close so I was happy to accept a lift with them but instead of Longsight we went straight to their hotel by the airport where Eager (yes you did) drove off and left me with Ronson and a snotty blonde. At the bar he told me about his music ambitions and while there he took a call that informed him they had a USA hit so he was over the moon. It was really late when I left and with not enough money for a cab I was given a handful of cash; over fifty pounds. I was living with the man who was to be the love of my life and knew that even as a night taxi driver Pete Gresty was already home with the sunrise. Not mentioning the kisses I told him I had been with this extrovert Gay guy I had after all been snuggling up to Ziggy still I was confused. Bowie was a toucher (not a groper) a caresser and his kisses were not gay!

Even though he had asked me to join him at his show at The Hardrock (Stretford), I was still in my teens and had no idea how I was going to get in, plus my music taste laid more in American Black music. That afternoon the same taxi driver arrived with my tickets and flowers. I hid the tickets and binned the flowers which was a good job because when I pointed Bowie out on Top of The Pops Pete went ballistic and that was that.

SuAndi Honorary Degree Lancaster University, UK

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Photo and Content Courtesy of Anne Rothwell Lancaster University, UK

5 March 2015 10:57
An internationally acclaimed performance poet has been awarded an honorary degree for her outstanding contribution to British art.

SuAndi is a performance poet, whose works include poetry, prose and librettos. She has published numerous collections of poetry, including Style (1990), Nearly Forty (1994), and There Will Be No Tears (1996).

SuAndi was presented with the honorary degree by Alan Milburn on 4 March, which was one of his very first tasks as Chancellor, having been officially installed that day.

On receiving the honour, SuAndi said: “This honorary degree illustrates that Lancaster University values voices outside of academia and for me, as a self-taught poet and writer, it is my Oscar.”

Born of Nigerian and British heritage, she was a dancer and a model before becoming a performance poet in 1985. In more recent years she has also worked in Live Art, touring and lecturing nationally and internationally.

An active supporter of the arts, both locally and nationally, SuAndi has been voluntary Cultural Director of the National Black Arts Alliance since its formation in 1985. She was appointed OBE in 1999 for her services to the Black Arts.

Lancaster University has been awarding Honorary Degrees since it was founded in 1964. They are awarded to people with an outstanding international reputation in their field and those with a leading national reputation who have a strong link with the University or the local region. SuAndi has a strong association with Lancaster University, both through her work with Theatre Studies and the AHRC-funded ‘Moving Manchester’ research project, which explored how migration has informed Manchester’s literary scene since the 1960s.

http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/news/articles/2015/honorary-degree-for-acclaimed-poet-suandi/

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Photo and Content Courtesy of Anne Rothwell Lancaster University, UK

From Friends to Physical: Top 5 Reasons Men and Women Can’t be Friends

The idea that (heterosexual) men and women may be able to participate in strictly platonic relationships is one of the most debated notions amongst people across the globe. On the one hand, we’ve all had friends of the opposite sex that we have never been physical with.Other the other hand, however, we all have also had to turn down the sexual advances of a trusted buddy…or even moments where we forcibly quelled our own inappropriate attractions.

That being said, please consider: The Top 5 Reasons Men & Women Can’t be Friends

5. Sexual Attraction– Let’s begin by stating the obvious: if you have hot, ‘platonic’ friends, you’re in trouble. Not that you won’t be able to control yourself (nevertheless, you may not want to) but regularly being around someone who you find sexually attractive is one of the worst way to avoid having sex with said person. What’s more, your ‘friend’ may also find you attractive…which means they may also be having their own dreams and dirty thoughts about you. Even if you’re involved in a relationship, how long do you think it will take before an awkward silence turns into kissing…or more…?

4. Jealous Significant Others– That being said, if you are in a relationship and have close friends of the opposite sex, your thoughts might not be the ones most threatening to the situation. It’s not uncommon for significant others to become jealous of platonic relationship even when they truly have nothing to worried about. Watching someone spend you’re involved with give time and attention to some unrelated person of the opposite sex can be a lot for anyone to deal with. What’s more, most men and women have playfully flirtatious relationships which only add to this insecurity. It usually doesn’t take very long for the threats and ultimatums to start flying…

3.Break-ups and Rebounds– Speaking of which, be very careful after breakups! Being vulnerable or ‘on the rebound’ is a part of many people’s process when getting over a relationship. Add to this, a fairly to extremely attractive friend, as well as some sexual chemistry, and you’ve got a recipe for rebound sex. Ideally this may not ruin a friendship, but more often than not it will. Furthermore, it will change the way you view one another and you may find that going back to being ‘just’ friends after such an experience to be next to impossible.

2. People/ Things Change– To piggy back off of number 3, people/ things change! Just because you weren’t interested in dating someone when you first met them (and vice versa) doesn’t mean that things will stay that way. People grow up, go through things, then all of a sudden even you’re goofy buddy starts to look like a dashing prospect. This can sometimes be the best thing ever. However, other times it may just be a relationship of convenience ending once you reach the realization that you were never compatible.

1. Secret Crushes– The top platonic relationship killer typically comes along when the realization that one or both of you never intended for it to be platonic to begin with. As humans, we often settle for whatever role we can get in someone’s life if we deem them as special in some way. That is to say, someone may be in a committed relationship or have other limitations that prevent them from being available when you first meet them. Most people will attempt to remain in their lives under the guise of ‘friendship’ just waiting for the perfect time to strike. In fact, I’d venture to say that this is the case within most platonic relationships. Just think about it, when you become friends with anyone, you usually do so because something attracted you to them.  This is all well and good when you are of the same gender (assuming you’re straight) but where do you go from there when you’re just a pair of heterosexuals? (Indeed, many so-called ‘platonic’ relationships begin with either one-sided or mutual flirtation.) Lastly, it seems that men are the least likely to sniff this out as most have been conditioned to be the hunters and can’t fathom a woman going such great lengths to win them over. (In fact, this may be the preferred method for some as many prefer to get close to someone before making a move in order to lessen the likelihood of rejection and humiliation) Don’t be so naive, fellas! If a woman is hanging around a lot, don’t think she’s not a threat simply because you don’t find her attractive. It takes 2 to tango…but only 1 to initiate! Keep that in mind…

The Bottom Line…

This was not written in order to discourage men and women from being friends. On the contrary, these ideas are being presented to encourage people to closely examine their relationships and to be open and honest with the people in their lives. Nothing lasts forever and many friendships are seasonal. However, many still could be saved from years of pointless yearning and turmoil if they simply refuse to accept those dreaded words ‘Let’s just be friends’…

NedRa Bonds Podcast Interview

NedRa BondsOne can use many adjectives to describe the multiple dimensions of NedRa Bonds. Social Activist, Educator, Mixed- Fiber Artist, and Quilter are only a few. She is a woman who possesses the type of intellect that slices through bullshit. Her charisma and persistence can melt the strongest opponent. Categorizing Ms. Bonds is impossible because she defies all the neat, little boxes society likes to use to profile someone. She continues to make her voice her in support of “the people,” she educates anyone willing to listen about how art intersects with healing and self-identity. Moreover, Ms. Bonds’ unique quilting and dollmaking talents are like no other.

Enjoy listening to a podcast with NedRa Bonds. Additionally, you will find a video interview, and a written interview on fromacloud, The Official Site of NedRa Bonds.

Click here to listen to Podcast.

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