Celebrating change

January 20, 2009

Local restaurants made the 44th president’s inaugural speech, although not for any commendable reason:

“This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.”    

 – Barack Obama, in his inaugural speech, January 20, 2009, referring to his election as the first African-American president of the United States

Desserts at our Inauguration Party

Desserts at our Inauguration Party

 

 Sixty years may seem like a long time to those of us who didn’t experience the racism Barack Obama recalled in his speech today, but I’m sure it feels like yesterday to those who suffered – and suffer – through it. As a recent college graduate working in Washington D.C. in 1989, I have a vivid memory of boarding a crowded bus one morning and realizing that I was the sole white person on the bus. For the first time, I understood how it felt to be the minority.   It made me think about how it must feel to be black.

Coming from California, I was never exposed to large African-American communities. In Washington D.C., I learned that America’s strength comes from her diversity. I learned that people of different races can co-exist, peacefully.  My mom tells a wonderful story about the first day my sister, Paula, went to kindergarten. She came home crying because another little girl was named “Paula” and she was afraid the teacher would not be able to tell them apart – she couldn’t believe someone else had her name.  When my mother took her to school the next morning, she saw that the other Paula was black.

 

My sister’s innocence and color-blindness is a lesson for all of us.  I hope that Barack Obama’s presidency brings about the change we are all craving. I have hope that we will come together and accomplish the hard work ahead of us.  Most importantly,  may the food at the local restaurant be delicious and served to all!

 

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New Year’s Resolutions

January 3, 2009

Just received my latest copy of Bon Appetit magazine, which I habitually put aside to read alone later with a glass of wine. This month’s (February 2009) special feature is “50 Easy Ways to Eat Green.” I was pleasantly surprised to see that No. 8 was “Buy a Side of Beef.”

Reporter Hugh Garvey sums it up better than any other I’ve seen in the past 17 years in this business:

“An increasing number of foodie carnivores are ordering grass-fed beef straight from the local farmers. Here’s why: The practice directly supports local farmers with a vested interest in taking care of the environment. Unlike grain and corn feed, grass requires no fossil fuel for transport. The regrowth of grazed grass removes carbon monoxide from the air.”

Garvey gets it. Grassfed beef is not only about good – and healthy – food;  it’s about supporting your local rural community (family farms and ranches and all the businesses that go with them), economical food purchases, humane treatment of animals, and environmental stewardship. Eating the grassfed beef burger I had for dinner tonight (with a melted slice of Swiss cheese, served on a fresh Ciabatta role) will also accomplish the other benefits I mention. Why would people do anything else? To find a your local grassfed beef producer, go to www.eatwild.com and have a Happy New Year!

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