Sunday, February 01, 2009

As Bees in Honey Drown

Yes, the El Rio concert was great. West Grand rocked out, thanks to Jackie, Debbie and the dude twins (no, for real, they're twins) on bass and drums. They were followed up by Reform School Girls, fronted by my old pal Pam Russell, who could read the phonebook on stage and be fun. This time she had false eyelashes AND a ratted-up bouffante, like Joan Holloway (from Mad Men)'s slutty little sister. As they claim on their Myspace page, "No women's prison can keep us out!"

Coolest thing is that Pam's gotten a book deal for her (deliberately) bad poetry, thanks to a savvy agent who saw her original chapbook. The Better Off Dead dancers may have to come out of retirement to promote this! As they clai

It's crazy warm out again although you'd never know it from being inside my freezing-cold house. Am off to soak up some vitamin D now, and possibly hit up the Free Farmstand for greens and herbs and whatever else they've got. Being a regular customer there, I feel I should give back a little--am considering whipping up a batch of vegan lemon cupcakes to bring along, since I've already thawed out a bunch of last year's frozen Meyer lemon juice to make cold-fighting lemonade this morning. Have to remember to bring a copy of my Honey book for Free Farmstand organizer Tree, also an urban beekeeper. A lot of people who like honey think of the hive as a honey factory, and bees as merely the anonymous means of production. Beekeepers, however, often end up fairly indifferent to honey. (As one home beekeeper told me, "Now if bees made chocolate, that would be something!") They may get into beekeeping for the sweet stuff, but they stay with it because they fall in love with their bees, every one of them. One beekeeper told me that if a stray bee finds its way into his car after he's been caring for his hives, he has to bring it back. He puts himself in the place of the lone bee: "If you've been constantly surrounded by 30,000 of your best friends, you'd be pretty lonely out on your own all of a sudden."

Tree, too, just gives away his honey, while wishing more people would appreciate the beauty and community organization of the hive, rather than just wallowing in the sticky end result. A recent in-depth investigative series by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about corruption in the global honey industry should, I hope, get more people buying their honey locally, where they can know their producer, and where their producer knows his/her bees. It's also time to warm up those cupcake-making muscles, since I've promised to bring some cupcakes to the ladies of nearby Veritable Vegetable, in exchange for some fabulous pixie mandarins from their hotshot produce stash. Who needs Davos when you can network at Eco-Farm? Will bake/write for food, that's how we roll here at PQ Castle.

What else? Mike S. finally got his cherimoyas, only a year after his initial request. But late as they may be, he's got 'em now, courtesy of S., my produce connection, who took care of my needs through his cherimoya-growing buddy at the Berkeley Farmers Market. 4 super-jumbo, hard (so they wouldn't turn to mush in the process) 'moyas were shipped off to Seattle, where they're currently ripening to tropical sweetness in a paper bag with a couple of bananas. Looking forward to getting the full report once they're eaten!

Out of the kitchen, PQ has started writing for Bay Area Bites, the food blog for local public tv/radio station KQED. This week, my first post is about the potential for making foie gras more humane and sustainable--by shifting it to seasonal-only production. Read it and please post a comment there, if you like.

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