New Nordic Diet

Apparently I missed out on this diet trend from 2015, but The New Nordic Diet (old now though I guess haha), is an interesting nutrition philosophy and considered a friendly rival to The Mediterranean Diet.

The manifesto:

1) To express the purity, freshness, simplicity and ethics we wish to associate to our region.
2) To reflect the changes of the seasons in the meal we make.
3) To base our cooking on ingredients and produce whose characteristics are particularly in our climates, landscapes and waters.
4) To combine the demand for good taste with modern knowledge of health and well-being.
5) To promote Nordic products and the variety of Nordic producers – and to spread the word about their underlying cultures.
6) To promote animal welfare and a sound production process in our seas, on our farmland and in the wild.
7) To develop potentially new applications of traditional Nordic food products.
8) To combine the best in Nordic cookery and culinary traditions with impulses from abroad.
9) To combine local self-sufficiency with regional sharing of high-quality products.
10) To join forces with consumer representatives, other cooking craftsmen, agriculture, fishing, food, retail and wholesales industries, researchers, teachers, politicians and authorities on this project for the benefit and advantage of everyone in the Nordic countries.

I think you could argue there is a “New American Diet”, although it is routinely mocked as classist or hipster food snobbery. Well, its understandable that in a society where so many of us suffer economically because of debt and stagnant wages, that some would turn their nose up at the higher price tags of the foods produced this way compared to the factory farmed products and overly processed junk foods. Yet this is just another of a million things that have its root in the fact that we are so overdue campaign finance reform. We have legislation that punishes permacultural ventures and small local farms in favor of wealthy lobbyists for unethical and earth-destroying Big Ag and there is nothing the people can do to stop it… except wake up of course and force campaign finance reform to pass… but I’m digressing.

I have been trying to adjust my diet to seasonal produce for some time. I think it is important taste-wise, nutrition-wise, environment-wise to reduce food miles and eat produce which has ripened naturally, instead of being picked unripe so that it can travel across the world, and animals which have been husbanded in a way that respects their natural instincts. I don’t do so perfectly, but to inform my decisions, I use the handy web site Autumn is one of my favorite food times because now the following foods are ripe:

bell peppers, beets, broccoli, broccolini, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cauliflower, celery root, chard, collards, fennel, garlic, leeks, parsnip, potatoes (maincrop), pumpkin, rutabaga, salsify, spinach, sweet potatoes, sunchoke, turnips, wild mushrooms

almonds, apples, chestnuts, cranberries, pears, persimmon, pomegranate

duck, lamb, partridge, pheasant, rabbit, venison


And for my fellow Georgians, you can get a more specific accounting of what is ready to eat when here at


Buttermilk ice cream specialization

I am currently chilling a mixture which will be my first batch of buttermilk ice cream. We will see how forgiving it is because I did make a minor change from necessity and quadrupled the recipe I was following. I didn’t quite have the heavy cream amount I needed, so I replaced it with more buttermilk.

Ever since I tried a buttermilk ice cream popsicle from a vendor at Atlantic Station, it is love from first taste.

I just love everything about it.

I wanted to make it plain to nail down the recipe first. But in the future, the mix-ins are going to take it to another level.

Peach cobbler? Blackberry pie? Fig? Sweet corn-bread?  Caramel dosed with bacon jam? Waffle and maple syrup?

Master of the Peppers

I have had a slow start to my gardening process, because I was insisting to myself that I would build the raised bed gardens, but I finally said, no, I really just want to get started… I just don’t have quite enough time to woodwork….

I have a bunch of seeds, some herbs and teas, peppers, various vegetables, but I’m going to get even more… but mostly, I want to grow every kind of pepper. I already have a couple pepper plants but I didn’t put a name-stake in and so I don’t remember if they are jalopenos. They may be. They recently grew flowers so I am pretty excited. Ben loves peppers, and they make any dish amazing so I figure I will specialize in them.

Peppers play well with tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers. Rotate with peas and beans.

We live in zone 7b: 5-10.

Last spring frost is approximately late march.  First fall frost is approximately mid-November.

In summary, it appears that pretty much all the peppers do well planted 8-10 weeks in well drained mulchy composty not-so-nitrogenized soil supported with a stake or cage.

So here are my notes, these are untested rules, so I wouldn’t follow this if I was a reader, I would do my own research:

Bell pepper

  • Start: indoors 8-10 weeks before last spring frost date. 3 to a pot, and thin out the weakest seedling.
  • Germinate: 70° F.
  • Soil: A week before transplanting, introduce fertilizer or aged compost into your garden soil. Well drained, with mulch or plastic covering.
  • Transplant: Put in shade before transplanting.  Transplant when soil should be at least 65° F
  • Plant spacing: 18 to 24 inches apart (but keep paired plants close to touching.)
  • Fertilize:  Fertilize after the first fruit set. Put two or three match sticks in the hole with each plant, along with about a teaspoon of fertilizer. These give the plants a bit of sulfur, which they like.
  • Water: one to two inches per week; For larger fruit, spray the plants with a solution of one tablespoon of Epsom salts in a gallon of water, once when it begins to bloom, and once ten days later.

Jalopeño pepper

  • Light: Full sun
  • Start: Indoor, 8 weeks before last frost.
  • Matures: 65-80 days
  • Plant spacing:  1/4″ deep; 12-36 inches apart
  • Soil requirements: well-drained; Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be pH 5.5-7.0. Use mulch.
  • Fertilize: rich in phosphorus, potassium and calcium

Serrano pepper

  • Light: Full sun
  • Fruit size: 3 to 3.5 inches
  • Matures: 80 days
  • Plant spacing: 18 inches apart
  • Soil requirements: well-drained; Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be 6.2 to 7.0.
  • Fertilize: a

Habenero pepper

  • Light: Bright Sun
  • Temperature: Warm
  • Plant spacing: 18 inches apart
  • Soil requirements: Peppers need well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be 6.2 to 7.0.
  • Start: indoors. Plant outside after at least 6 leaves in warm soil.
  • Water: Infrequent but deep watering
  • Fertilize:  ¼ tablespoon of nitrogen per plant when six weeks old.

Poblano pepper

  • Light: Full sun
  • Start: Indoor, 8 weeks before last frost.
  • Matures: 65-80 days
  • Plant spacing:  1/4″ deep; 12-36 inches apart
  • Soil requirements: well-drained; Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be pH 5.5-7.0. Use mulch.
  • Fertilize: rich in phosphorus, potassium and calcium

Chili pepper

  • Light: Full sun
  • Start: Indoor, 8 weeks before last frost.
  • Matures: 65-80 days
  • Plant spacing:  1/4″ deep; 12-36 inches apart
  • Soil requirements: well-drained; Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be pH 5.5-7.0. Use mulch.
  • Fertilize: rich in phosphorus, potassium and calcium

Shishito pepper

  • Light: Full sun
  • Fruit size: 3 to 4 inches long
  • Matures: 60 days for green fruits, 80 days for red
  • Plant spacing: 18 to 24 inches
  • Plant size: 24 to 30 inches tall
  • Start: Indoors, 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost.
  • Water: check the soil 4-6″ inches deep and water when the soil feels dry to the touch.
  • Fertilize: Balanced vegetable fertilizer with a formula such as 5-10-10 or similar.

Excerpt from Meat the Benign Extravagance

Only a few from what were many bullet points where Simon Farlie, author, described characteristics a low-carbon mixed (omnivorous and vegan) agriculture.

  • A highly reruralized society would see a revival of fairs, not unlike the growing number of festivals that embellish the modern English summer, but with stalls that purveyed the practical as well as the fanciful, and plenty of dealing in horses, livestock, cheese, and the like. ‘When fairs were frequent shops were not necessary,’ says Cobbett with characteristic hyperbole, and he goes on to explain:
    A manufacturer of shoes, of stockings, of hats, of almost anything that man wants, could manufacture at home in an obscure hamlet, with cheap house rent, good air, and plenty of room. He need pay no heavy rent for a shop; and no disadvantages from confined situation; and then by attending three or four or five or six fairs in a year, he sold the work of his hands, unloaded with a heavy expense attending the keeping of a shop. He would get more for ten shillings in a booth at a fair or market than he would get in a shop for twenty pounds.
    Anybody who doubts the ability of society entirely dependent upon animal traction to shift large volumes of material, or who thinks that country life before the motor vehicle must have been boring, should read Defoe’s description of Sturbridge fair, an event the size of Glastonbury Festival, but with no entrance fee or security fence, and lasting many days longer.
  • In some circumstances it might be more economic to employ a shepherd/cowherd to guard ruminants, rather than to fence them. This has advantages for animal welfare (disease is more readily spotted) and for land management (grazing of different areas can be calibrated by the shepherd, and overgrazed areas such as riverbanks avoided).
  • Some herd of ruminants would be returned to barns or folded on fields at night to supply manure.
  • There might be a return to the formerly widespread practice – still found in Eastern Europe – of family-owned dairy cows being collected by the community shepherd after milking in the morning and returned for milking in the evening after a day in common pastures. There are great advantages to this system: it uses economies of scale where they exist (in grazing and bull provision), but spreads the burden where scale is a disadvantage (in handmilking and veterinary care); it distributes milk to every family participating in the scheme; and gives every participating family a stake in the management of village lands, and the economic and emotional satisfaction of owning a cow. The same system was used on the Eastern coast of the United States, prior to the days of barbed wire. Defoe describes this system operating in Cheddar where ‘the whole village are cowkeepers’ and ‘before the village is a large green, or common, a piece of ground in which the whole herd of the cows, belonging to the town, do feed’. Milk not consumed at home was turned into a single huge cheese at the co-operative dairy (another operation where economies of scale are a great advantage); but families were paid, when they had contributed enough gallons, with a huge cheese weighing up to a hundredweight. which it was their responsibility to sell: “Thus every man has equal justice, and though he should have but one cow, he shall, in time, have one whole cheese’.

We are how we eat

I was reading in an Anthropology text and learned that malaria was likely resultant from the invention of slash and burn farming. I think this is a great history lesson for the conditions we find ourselves in today.
Today, we know global warming is in large part contributed to by factory farming, particularly of animals. Although, some say that we require factory farming in order to feed people, perhaps something farmers who slash and burn might have argued too, there is a lot of evidence that merely addressing food waste and informing the agricultural practice with permacultural principals is the way to achieve symbiosis with our planet. Permacultural principals would result in meat becoming an expensive delicacy, but overall would lead to even more diversity in the diet.
It is important to have regulation, because we don’t want to allow the economical advantage to be with the short-sighted, low-investment methods of agriculture, slash and burn and factory farms. Yet, it is important to have correct regulation, because sometimes good intentions can have big consequences, such as the UK banning feeding swill to pigs, exasperating the food waste problem, while diverting food products from people livestock humans invented to turn food scraps into food.

What is your favorite chocolate?

I have come across some really delicious chocolates recently. Chocolate is an important part of the diet, if you like it. A person needs to indulge, but the trick is for your indulgence to nourish you. So when I’m say chocolate, I’m not talking about that hershey’s milk chocolate crap. Get that away from me.

My new favorite chocolate is Lulu’s Smoked Sea Salt Almond with organic sprouted almonds. Everything about this chocolate is perfect. Ingredients: cacao, cacao butter, coconut palm sugar, sprouted almonds, smoked sea salt and vanilla bean. That’s it, that’s all. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

Another happy discovery I made recently Taza 87% dark stone ground chocolate. I love that I can still detect the texture of the cacao in the bar, but its been lightly sweetened enough to be delicious.

I also recently found two just absolutely delicious chocolate energy bars that have become top of my list. Anybody that ever tries to get an energy bar knows that sometimes they don’t really taste that great.

My favorite is Primal Kitchen’s dark chocolate almond, which gets its nutritional punch from collagen. It is extremely chewy which forces you to take it slow. I particularly love how the faintest hint of the Himalayan salt dances behind the chocolate and nut flavor.

Coming in at a close second is Bearded Brothers Mega Maca energy bars. Ingredients: dates, almonds, cashews, maca powder, cacao nibs, mexican cocoa, evaporated coconut palm nectar, chia seeds, sea salt. They’re comparable to the well-known cliff bar, but the ingredients are more finely ground and compressed if that makes any sense.

Just so you know, nobody is paying me to say this. I just love chocolate! So what is your favorite chocolate?



Vaportinis and 3Dponics

The other day on Facebook, a friend of mine posted a Gizmodo article on vaporizing alcohol using the Vapshot Mini and I was intrigued. However, I resigned myself to never having the experience for myself, because the gadget mentioned was very expensive. Discussing it with my friends, I learn one of ours actually has a Vaportini. Now the Vaportini is only $35 bucks and a much simpler device. I chose to try it out on Jameson, and it was a delightful experience. Much of the enjoyment from flavor is inhaling the scent; essence of a good scotch, whisky, or gin is amazing.

Today, I read an article about the 3Dponics open sourced hydroponic system. I’m excited to death over it, tell my 3D printing partner and he is printing out the parts for me now! We’re learning a bit about how the growing stones and nutrient water needs to be dealt with and jumping right in. We plan to grow spinach, radishes, and turnips.

The pace of life is surreal in this decade, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.