still cookin'

food, nutrition, and health news



Boston Health News, week of December 2nd

  • With flu season just around the corner, the Occupy Boston encampment in Dewey Square, poses a significant health risk. Occupiers partnered with the Boston Public Health Commission to set up a free flu clinic on site for occupiers to receive vaccines in order to establish herd immunity among the campers. [Commonhealth]
  • The 2011 Health of Boston report, released yesterday, indicates the city is doing well in some respects, and poorly in others. The BPHC said of the results, “Boston is one of the healthiest city in America, but, obviously, there is still work to do…That’s why it’s important that we continue to sound the alarm about the bad health consequences of sugary beverages and tobacco, while continuing to provide support for community gardening, Farmer’s Markets, and create policies and programs that allow residents to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine.’’ Read the full report here. [Commonhealth]
  • Boston was recognized for its impressive Farm to School initiative by the Mother Nature Network. The city’s public schools receive locally grown, fresh produce from area farms to incorporate into school meals. The meals are offered in conjunction with additional nutrition education and some cafeterias have had professional guest chefs cook their meals. [Grub Street Boston]


Fall Favorites: Apple picking!


This past weekend, I did one of my favorite things – apple picking! Instead of going to Tougas Farm, where we’ve gone in the past, we opted for a less-crowded and smaller venue – Clearview Farm in Sterling, MA. While the parking situation was less chaotic and the farm wasn’t overrun with small children (pluses), I was disappointed to see that Clearview only had 4 varieties of apples (whereas Tougas has 15-20). And, their apple cider donuts weren’t hot from the oven…although that did not stop me from eating several.


In the past 5 days I have eaten: apple cider donuts, apple crisp, apple pie, AND apple dumplings. All delicious, but not exactly nutritious. While I’m certainly meeting my apple-a-day quota, I’m on the lookout for some healthy apple recipes.

Since it’s been such a warm Fall thus far, there are still a couple more weeks of apple picking – go to Mass Pick-Your-Own to find an orchard near you.

Upcoming Event: National Food Day

On October 24th, 2011, the first ever Food Day will be held across the country. Food Day is a national event advocating for “healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way,” hosted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and a long list of partner organizations. The goals of Food Day are:

  • Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
  • Support sustainable farms & limit subsidies to big agribusiness
  • Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
  • Protect the environment & animals by reforming factory farms
  • Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
  • Support fair conditions for food and farm workers

In Boston, the event will be hosted by none other than Tufts University (woo!). Mayor Menino will be on hand to speak about the importance of Food Day’s message, and his vision of the future of Boston’s food systems.

When: October 24th, 2011 from 1-2pm

Where: Tufts University School of Medicine (Sackler Auditorium)

The event is open to the public and registration is here. If you can’t attend in person, you can watch the webcast on the Friedman School website.

Learn more about the event here and check out how other cities, communities, schools, organizations, etc. are celebrating.

Upcoming Events: This Weekend Around Boston

The 22nd Annual Harpoon Octoberfest is TODAY, September 30th, from 5:30-11pm and tomorrow, October 1st, from 2-9pm at the Harpoon Brewery (the waterfront). Tickets are $20 (includes a pint glass and 1 drink ticket), must be over 21 to partake. Details here.

The Boston Local Food Festival is tomorrow, October 1st, from 11am-5pm at the Fort Point Channel. Free and includes local food tastings! More details here.

The 33rd Annual Oktoberfest and HONK! Parade in Harvard Square is Sunday, October 2nd, from 12-6pm in Harvard Square. Includes live music, crafts, and three beer gardens! Details here.

Upcoming Event: Urban Ag Fair this Sunday, Sept. 18th

When: this Sunday, September 18th, 11am-5pm

Where: Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA  – Mt. Auburn and JFK Streets and Winthrop Park

What: “Situated on Mount Auburn Street and Winthrop Park, the site of the first marketplace in Newtowne (1630s), this event will showcase locally grown fruits and vegetables and the people that grow them.  Come sample delicious local fare, purchase locally grown foods, get tips from local experts on composting, community gardening, container gardening, raising chickens and bees and more!  Cooking demonstrations by local chefs will be held throughout the day.  Share your cookbooks or climate/environmental books at our book swap table.  In addition, Grendel’s Den will be on hand to host a beer garden featuring locally crafted brews!  All events are free, open to the public and are family friendly.”

Beer garden? I’m there!

More info here.

Via Grub Street Boston.




Upcoming Event: Boston Local Food Festival

On October 1st, the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston will host the Boston Local Food Festival in the Fort Point neighborhood. The mission of the festival is to increase awareness and generate interest in local and sustainably produced food, support the growth of local farms, and increase access to and availability of healthy foods for urban populations. This year’s theme is “Healthy Local Food for All!”

The event includes educational workshops and demonstrations related to nutrition, sustainability, and farming; samples and tastings of locally produced food and drink; and the opportunity to speak with and learn from local farmers, chefs, and local food advocates. The festival also has a zero waste goal!

When: Saturday, October 1st, 2012 11am-5pm

Where: Wharf at Fort Point Channel (by the Boston Children’s Museum)

Tickets: FREE! (although some events, like the Local Craft Brew Tastings, require tickets)

More info here.

Strawberry Fields


Encouraged by the gorgeous weather today in Boston, two friends and I hopped in the car in search of pick-your-own berries. First, we headed to Brooksby Farm in Peabody, MA (just a short drive out of the city) only to find that everyone else had the same idea – the fields had been picked clean! Whipping out our phones, we quickly located another farm just 20 minutes further.

Connors Farm in Danvers, MA had not only pick-your-own strawberries but a shack full of food (I spied fresh donuts, plenty of jams, pie…), hayrides, duck races, and a live band. It was a family-friendly place…if you’re into that sort of thing. It also had this:

we did it

To find a pick-your-own farm in your area, visit this handy website. Strawberries have a short season so head out soon if you want some. Raspberries are in season late June-late July and blueberries are mid-July-mid-August.

Now, what to make with my strawberry haul?

Nutrition & Health News, Week of June 10

  • The Boston Herald rounded up a small sampling of the frozen treats on Newbury Street and wrongfully concluded that relative newcomer Pinkberry (to Boston, that is) offered the best frozen yogurt. My loyalty is to local chain Berryline, which recently opened a Newbury St. location in addition to their original Harvard Square, Porter Square, and Fenway outposts. Also, Smoothie King has no business being in this round-up! [Herald]
  • Marion Nestle shared some thoughts on the German E.Coli outbreak, which may or may not be caused by sprouts (a common carrier of bacteria because they are hard to clean) . [Atlantic Monthly]
  • The German government is pretty sure the E.Coli outbreak was caused by sprouts, despite negative results from epidemiological studies. Overall, 2988 people were sickened and 795 of them developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a very serious complication. [NYT]
  • A Missouri ice cream shop took advantage of a rare cicada invasion to make a cicada-flavored ice cream, which was apparently flying (ha) off the shelves. Someone said the crunchy critters taste like peanuts. After quickly selling out of their seasonal (and once every 13 years) flavor, stop the local health department “advised” them to stop because of food code concerns (which don’t cover cicadas, shockingly!). Customers eager to try the flavor will have to wait until 2024. [CBS]

Have a lovely weekend!

Michael Pollan on NPR

I just listened to a great episode of NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, with Michael Pollan as a guest. Also great, comedian Paula Poundstone’s debate with Pollan about whether a ring-ding (not to be confused with a ding-dong) qualifies as real food (less than 5 ingredients): “Devil’s food cake, that’s one. Creamy filling…two. And chocolate coating! That’s only 3!” Definitely worth a listen.

“To sum up his work, he says ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’ Which, of course, is entirely un-American.”- Host, Peter Sagal

“We’re very confused about food…What other species needs experts to tell them how to eat?” – Michael Pollan

You can download episodes of Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! here or on iTunes, for free.

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