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Friday, April 30, 2004

An Octopus may be Somebody's Other 

We found the latest deep "Star" rising on the international cooking scene, non other than Chef Tako and his show "Deep Fried, Live." Ladies and gentlemen, the "Octopus Gourmand," the "Cephalopod with the Nod," put your working class hands together for the hardest working cooking show at sea...Heeere's TAKO!


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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Featured Site "The Savvy Vegetarian" 

Every now and then as a publisher we are pleasantly surprised, that happened a few days ago when another web publisher contacted us whom we had not come across before. Her name is Judy Kingsbury and she is the "Savvy Vegetarian"

Judy has an amazing site full to overflowing with resources for newbie vegetarians and experienced veg-heads alike. Her advice column is reminiscent of Anne Landers the late advice columnist for the Chicago Tribune meets Virginia Messina RD, it's entertaining as well as informative and thought provoking.

Savvy Vegetarian has links to everything from Alternative Medicine to Women's Health and a full repertoire of book reviews, recipes and news.

Highly recommend that you bookmark this one and visit often, we're sure to hear much more from the Savvy Vegetarian.


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Friday, April 23, 2004

Southwestern Taco Salad with Mock Chicken, Black Beans and Mushrooms 

excerpt from: A Vegetarian Cooks’ Book, The Green Cutting Board Press, 2004


4 spinach tortillas
2 BOCA meatless chicken patties thawed
1 Cup mixed fresh greens
1 ripe tomato cut into chunks
1 Cup prepared black beans drained
1/2 Cup black olives sliced
1/2 Cup Monterey Jack shredded
1/2 Cup baby portabella mushroom sliced
1 Tbls vegetable oil
taco seasoning (see home made)
soy sour cream
ready-made salsa


Prepare everything that needs to be sliced, shredded, drained or thawed in advance, this goes very quickly once you start.

Preheat a large frying pan to medium-high with 1 Tbls of vegetable oil. One a time crisp each tortilla about 1 minute on each side layer between paper towels to drain (better yet, use today’s newspaper, the ink won’t hurt you and it’s a nice recycle)

Cut each chicken patty into 6 or 8 strips. Dredge the strips in salsa and lightly dust with dry taco seasoning. The strips are already cooked so just heat them through in one side of the pan and in the other side of the pan sauté the mushrooms until they start to soften, add the black beans, heat through. You’re done.

Let everyone build his or her own salad, top with everything.
Awards go to the tallest salad.

Serves 2


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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Meet the First ETE Trekkers 

The East Coast Greenway Alliance "people trail" from Maine to Key West is a project which over the past 10 years has labored to develop a pedestrian/bike trail through the densely populated urban centers of the Eastern United States. Starting early this September, twelve volunteer cyclists will embark on the first 2600 mile End-To-End tour from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida arriving in Key West Nov 3, 2004. Eric Weis of the ECGA kindly sent us a draft of the itinerary including dates and locations as well as a script of the events and mileage sets. If you plan to attend any of the stations along the trail please make your plans in advance and contact the ECGA for further details.

If you can't be on wheels for this historic bike event you may still participate with your pledge to support the riders who must each raise $10,000 in contributions which will provide for the continued expansion of the trail. Currently 50% of the pathway is complete or under construction with the remainder of the proposed additions used as alternate routes until completed.

Volunteer cyclists are provided web sites at the Greenway home page. You can read their stories there and contact them directly if you wish to pledge or simply say hello.

If you do attend part of the End-To-End tour this fall write and tell us about your experience, we'd love to hear about it. We'll publish your story and pictures in our guest features section.


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Saturday, April 17, 2004

Earthday 2004 

Eighteen years ago while I was still teaching and very confident, if somewhat confused about my future the college that tolerated my youthful effusiveness managed in its own starry-eyed enthusiasm to capture a ray of sunlight. On a wonderfully warm and bright blue spring day in May of 1986 a person came to our campus who, for some of us, epitomized the reality of our potential, our possibilities our estimation of the future. Armed with nothing more than our Star Trek induced faith in the perfection of the future we were about to hear a lecture from Jean Cousteau son of Jacques Cousteau the living symbol of 20th century scientific activism, and we were eager; I mean here was the son of the man whom we had all watched as he single-handedly opened a pathway to the final frontier, the son of the man who was " Captain Nemo" aka "Captain Kirk", Jacques Cousteau.

We listened that day mesmerized as Jean Cousteau presided over our environmental forum and enunciated his father's vision: one world, one ocean, one chance, I've been "Green" ever since.

Now, I know that Nemo and Kirk are cultural icons and I understand that youth knows no bounds, but on the eve of this years "Earth Day" celebrations, being a publisher and no longer quite so unsure of my future I now have a chance to be Kirk and Nemo and reveal the reality behind "Green" and sometimes, not so green, in our 21st century.

Approaching "Earth Day" 2004, I had been looking for something you know, "green", an op-ed piece that would inspire participation, encourage a day off, a day in the sun, a day to enjoy and honor earth and (you have to know the song and hum along here OK) our

mountain greenery
Where God paints the scenery,
Just three crazy people together
Ooh, while you love your lover,
Let blue skies be your coverlet
When it rains, we'll laugh at the weather

We could find no cleaner
Retreat from life's machinery
Than our mountain greenery
With its mountain scenery
Bless our mountain greenery home

and I found it, or so I thought, The Greening Earth Society an environmental organization I'd not heard of before, although they sounded very familiar. Here was a website to write a story about and add to our links page and all on the eve of Earthday. Who ever created this web site must surely have been on the same campus as I in 1986 along with Jean and Jacques and Kirk.

I began to drill down further into this seemingly "Green" site and found that while they present well with bonafide credentials, headlines about clean air and water, phrases like "Climate Alerts", "Climate History", "Change"... "Politics", all you could ask for in a website that promotes ecologically responsible policies, well I'll just sit back and let you read the following quotes from their page.

"CO2 is required for life on earth. It cannot be reasonably construed to be a pollutant. With proper stewardship, the ability of earths plant life to sequester carbon in soils can result in a host of benefits. CO2 and Climate.org provides sound information about CO2 and climate to educators, students, business and media representatives, community leaders and policymakers alike.

Greening Earth Society sponsors CO2 and Climate.org as an online source of information concerning the impact of the atmospheres increasing concentration of carbon dioxide (C02) on earths climate and the biosphere.

Our climate focus expresses scientific skepticism concerning the potential for catastrophic changes in climate due to humanity's emissions of CO2.

Our CO2 focus concerns the science of carbon sequestration by terrestrial plant life and the benefits to plant life from carbon dioxide fertilization."

Wait, what is this, "CO2 ... cannot be reasonably construed to be a pollutant", "scientific skepticism", "potential for catastrophic changes"... who are these people and what have they done with The Greening Earth Society? Scroll to the bottom of their page:

"Greening Earth Society is a not-for-profit membership organization comprised of rural electric cooperatives and municipal electric utilities, their fuel suppliers, and thousands of individuals."

The moral of the editorial is that if you are enthusiastic about "Earth Day" and you want to participate do it with heart, do it with spirit and do it with lots of research.

To experience an actual "Green" site go to EnviroLink for event schedules or to post your own Earth Day Event.

Have a great Earth Day.

Post Script: If you want to see a linking site of The Greening Earth Society go to Accuracy in Media but that's another story which I'll save for National Journalism Day.


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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

A Trail Runs Through It 

The East Coast Greenway Alliance is ten years old and doing very well thanks to the effort of countless volunteers and a singular vision to create a contiguous pedestrian nature trail from Maine to Key West. With twenty percent of the trail complete and another 50 percent of the right of way secured and ready to begin construction the Greenway Trail is about to become a reality.

The trail is unlike most nature trails because it was planned to actually transect some of the most urban centric topography in the United States, the densely populated eastern seaboard. Using existing Federal park lands, city parks and state coast ways the trail will pass through cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. The trail makes use of abandoned rail lines, as well as existing nature paths and even city parks to provide a continuous people path from which to explore the entire range of the US east coast.

Planners have sought to use trails where people have walked for generations and knit them together along with side routes to existing trails and form a contiguous pedestrian way very much in the tradition of ancient highways and trade routes that have existed throughout history, and it is an idea whose time has come again.

One side route included in the Green Way Alliance is the Pinellas Trail that circumnavigates the County by the same name on the Florida Sun Coast. Our publication is located alongside a segment of the Pinellas Trail and sometimes it is hard to keep a deadline as we pause to regard the cyclists and in-liners who frequently off trail along our little street in Ozona.

Pinellas Trail, Ozona, Florida Source: GCB Press, 2004

The East Coast Greenway Trail will officially open this fall with the first end-to-end journey by twelve volunteer cyclists who will ride from Maine to Key West. The full 2600-mile trip will take roughly 3 months from September 12th to November 3rd when they arrive in Key West. Each volunteer must raise a pledge amount of $10,000 and be willing to participate in media events along the way. There are still openings on the team of riders, if you’re interested go to the ECGA website for more information. There you will find interactive maps, a history of the project, contact information and most importantly you can learn how to help by becoming a part of this Green Alliance.


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Sunday, April 11, 2004

The Good, The Bad and the Frugal, an Easter Tale 

Recently I came across two stories that while not related have a common thread and, if you think about it, a tale to tell.

The first is this story from Sun City Center, Florida. The parishioners of a new congregation named St. John the Divine Episcopal Church found themselves the benefactors of an unusual fund raising event, a “Big Tent Pork Barbeque.” Now, you may say, what is so unusual about a Pork B-B-Q event to raise money to build a new church, happens all the time right! Well, yes and no, it seems this particular barbeque was hosted under a “big tent” on the grounds of neighboring Temple Beth Israel, a Jewish Congregation.

The event is the second cooperative fundraiser staged by the two congregations in two years and is expected to substantially advance the New Episcopal Church’s building fund goal. The Jewish Congregation supports the event and in return receives the option of barbequed chicken if they choose, it seems that Beth Israel and St John the Divine are going to be great neighbors!

The next story in the diptych also has to do with food and funding but, sadly, in a significantly more venal context. Florida State Department of corrections officials recently decided to offer Jewish prisoners a kosher diet and, in the best tradition of public service, elected to adhere to the current budget allowance of $1.87 per day per prisoner, Aramark currently has the contract. Prison authorities say that they have done the research and will provide Kosher meals to prisoners in the context of a “family kitchen” rather than a restaurant; meaning it does not require Rabbinical supervision. Jewish prisoners will be allowed to prepare the meals on site in a separate kitchen with separate equipment and keep kosher.

Rabbinic authorities have raised objections saying that institutional kosher kitchens must be certified, an annual process that attends a fee and which assures patrons that the food venue is kosher. They suggested that prisoners would be better served by buying prepackaged frozen kosher meals at an estimated $7.00 per day per prisoner, care to guess who would be served by that arrangement!

The tale is this, if the good folks of Beth Israel in Sun City can throw a Hog Barbeque for their new Episcopal neighbors, why can’t Florida state prison officials be trusted to provide kosher meals to Jewish prisoners? Hope your Easter was informed.


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Friday, April 09, 2004

Manatees in Jeopardy 

We were researching a story for todays edition when a feed came through from Denlines. This is an issue for those of us who live in Florida, it's true, but beyond that it surely impacts any of you who have lived near or heard of these gentle giants of the sea. We urge you to write to the folks listed below and voice your dismay at the potential for suffering and loss that this legislation portends and send a clear testament in support of the Manatee.

Finally, if I may, a personal note: To our many friends and readers in Australia and Queensland, a special plea to you to engage the process, voice your concern: one ocean, one world.

On Monday afternoon, April 12th, the Florida Senate Natural
Resources Committee will vote on anti-manatee legislation
(SB 540). SB 540 deals a crushing blow to manatees by severely
weakening the Manatee Sanctuary Act. The bill says that if a
regional population has met disputed "biological goals", any
"excess" manatees could then be killed or injured by boats.
The bill could virtually halt work on manatee protection plans
and is in conflict with the federal Endangered Species Act and
the Marine Mammal Protection Act. In addition, essential funds
would be diverted from important management and recovery
research to studies that are ill-conceived and unnecessary.

Every year, Defenders of Wildlife's Florida office, as part of
the Manatee Coalition, has to fight back bad manatee legislation
despite the fact that special interests say they will cease
these legislative attacks. Once again, we need to voice our
support for strong manatee protection. Please call or email
by noon Monday to tell the Senate Natural Resources Committee
members to vote NO on SB 540.


Please go to the DEN Action Center at: http://www.denaction.org
to contact your state Senator and Governor Jeb Bush and tell
them to urge the members of the Natural Resources Committee to
"VOTE NO ON SB 540". You can also telephone the state
Senate Natural Resources Committee members (see contact
information below).

The vote will occur on MONDAY, APRIL 12, so please send your
message TODAY. Be sure to say "VOTE NO ON SB 540" in the
subject line or phone call. Thanks for helping to protect
the unique manatee, our state's official marine mammal.

Laurie Macdonald
Director, Defenders of Wildlife's Florida Office



Chair: Senator Alfred Lawson, Jr.
E-mail: lawson.alfred.web@flsenate.gov
Phone: 850-487-5004

Vice Chair: Senator Paula Dockery
E-mail: dockery.paula.web@flsenate.gov
Phone: 850-487-5040

Senator Nancy Argenziano
E-mail: argenziano.nancy.web@flsenate.gov
Phone: 850-487-5017

Senator Jeffrey H. Atwater
E-mail: atwater.jeff.web@flsenate.gov
Phone: 850-487-5100

Senator Lee Constantine
E-mail: constantine.lee.web@flsenate.gov
Phone: 850-487-5050

Senator Anna P. Cowin
E-mail: cowin.anna.web@flsenate.gov
Phone: 850-487-5014

Senator Gary Siplin
E-mail: siplin.gary.web@flsenate.gov
Phone: 850-487-5190

Governor Jeb Bush
E-mail: jeb.bush@myflorida.com
Phone: 850-488-4441
Fax: 850-487-0801

Thank you to Save the Manatee Club for information used in
writing this alert.


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Thursday, April 08, 2004


This recipe is the result of a late evening and the coincidence that aired a version of Cervante's Don Quixote, "Man of La Mancha," 1972 starring Peter O'Tool and Sophia Loren as "Dulcinea."

excerpt from: A Vegetarian Cooks' Book, The Green Cuttingboard Press, 2004


3 10" dia. tortillas
2 Tbls vegetable oil
6-8 bussels sprouts cut in half
1/2 Cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 Cup tomato diced
1/2 medium yellow onion sliced
4 ounces soy country saugage crumbled
1/2 Cup refried beans
1/2 Cup soy chedder cheese diced
1/2 Cup prepared salsa
1 Tbls diced jalepeno
1 tsp diced garlic
1/2 Tbls cummin
pinch sea salt
3 Tbls soy sour cream


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F

Saute the brussels sprouts in 1 Tbls of vegetable oil turning to brown evenly. Add the onion, garlic, tomato, mushrooms and continue to saute covered until cooked soft. Turn the heat off and add the cummin and salt, set aside.

In 1 Tbls of vegetable oil saute the crumbled sausage until moderately dry, reserve.

Assemble the pie and cook

On one tortilla spread 3/4 of the sauted vegetables and top with the second tortilla. Spread the refried beans, reserved soy sausage and 1/2 the diced soy cheese. Top with the remaining tortilla and evenly apply the remaining vegetable saute. Cover with cheese and salsa. Cook on a pizza stone/pan for 20 minutes or until melted and bubbling.

Cut pizza style and serve with soy sour cream
Serves 2


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USDA Food Pyramid, Reexamined 

In 1992 the USDA introduced the "Food Pyramid" a graphic representation of the basic food groups and their relative portioning in the course of a "healthy" human diet. The pyramid is a clear visual representation, easily reproduced and distributed by various media for use in public information campaigns, schools, and libraries. It was a brilliant marketing concept created and precisely executed by The Department of Agriculture and it was wrong! Wrong for two reasons; the Department of Agriculture has no mandate to develop a diet recommendation and their research efforts were minimal at best. As portrayed, the food groups are misrepresented within the pyramid that mixes red meat, fish and dry beans in one category while sugar and oil are paired in another. The structure ignores proportional attributes in serving sizes and frequency and suggests with one very broad stroke that fat is 'bad" and all carbohydrates are "good." The 13 year old USDA Food Pyramid doesn't even allow for the different nutritional requirements of children and adults or men and women.

The Department of Agriculture today, as at its beginning, is responsible for promoting US agricultural interests overseas; working to insure that American farmers have fair access to foreign markets. The USDA is not required to conduct research on or to recommend dietary guidelines, this is something called institutional creep, generally systemic among agencies of the Federal Government. The result of all this is that Americans today are beset by a bewildering array of conflicted dietary recommendations and a market place flooded with questionable franken-food. The Fast food industry has misused the flawed "Food Pyramid" to promote their products as healthy by claiming strict adherence to the standards set forth in the ubiquitous food graphic. The result of all this is that America today suffers an appalling epidemic of obesity with its consequent health care impact and at the same time an endemic rate of malnutrition.

Generations of adults brought up on family farms, home cooking and within the government school cafeteria programs of the fifties, sixties and seventies can only watch perplexed as the rate of obesity has surged among young adults and children of the 80s and 90s. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website the percentage of Americans suffering from obesity rose in the United States between 1991 from 12 % to almost 21% in 2001; a staggering 75% increase since publication of the USDA Food Pyramid. It would be wrong of course to draw a direct cause and effect between this statistic and the publication of a simple graphic but such is the power of advertising where a picture is "worth a thousand words" and, when backed by the authority of the United States Government, the result can have a significant impact on public policy.

Traditional USDA Food Pyramid
Source: GCBPress, 2004

Among other things you will probably notice the grouping of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts, all great sources of protein but hardly related as to food type. Meat, generally typified, as "red" meat shares an upper quadrant along with eggs and poultry. Fish are here as well however no mention is made of its rich concentration of omega oils, nuts are included and finally beans. The last two certainly do not belong in the grouping.

Many recent revisions to the traditional pyramid have been proposed, most notably by Oldways Preservation & Exchange Trust a non-profit founded in 1988 to promote healthy eating and encourage sustainable food choices. Oldways has several alternative food pyramids: Mediterranean Diet, Latin Diet, Oriental Diet and Vegetarian. The Harvard School of Public Health has developed a Healthy-Eating Pyramid. All of these recent interpretations of the food pyramid purport to be based on scientific nutritional analysis of factors in diet that include among other things, gender, age, physical activity and even geographical and cultural influences; for instance the Mediterranean Diet emphasizes a tradition of locally and seasonally available produce rather than food imported from other regions and climates.

Vegetarian Pyramid
Source: Loma Linda University

Healthy-Eating Pyramid
Source: Harvard School of Public Health

In 2001 the USDA began to rethink its original approach to the decade old Food Pyramid and on their website invited comment from the public at large in order to revision the graphic and make it a more useful tool. The agency claims the process is an open, ongoing one and may result in multiple configurations of the food pyramid in order to best serve the wide variety of individual life styles and tastes. The agricultural industry, grocers, food service businesses and institutional food venues in the United States could well profit by observing these trends and acting to facilitate consumer demand rather than trying to influence the process to further their own agenda, they could, it remains to be seen if they will.

Reporting for The Green Cutting Board Press, Jameson Rourke, Contributing Editor


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Friday, April 02, 2004

It is always nice to be noticed  

Elisabeth Donovan, Research Editor for the Miami Herald provides a nifty online running commentary about Blogs and Bloggers notable if you blog or just like to read them. Ms Donovan serves up a full plate of some of the best, most entertaining and informative WeBlogs to be found...and I'm not saying that just because she included "The Green Cutting Board" in her column yesterday.

Definitely bookmark The Miami Herald WeBlog Pages by Liz Donovan and visit often, its worth the read.


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Thursday, April 01, 2004

A Fellow Food Fan Fein 

A friend, Shenanchie published her Vegan Recipe Page yesterday and so, I want to acknowledge Deborah's work. There is a moment in each life when writing will transcend art. Her publication Shenanchie's Kitchen embraces both, but why should it not; Shenanchie is Gaelic for "Story Teller" and Deborah means "Bee" or "kind words" in Hebrew, both applicable I assure you. Enjoy this site..."Bain taitneamh as do bhéile!"


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