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Showing posts from December, 2013

The goats of Christmas past.

Several Christmases ago, I was giving an average five goats or wells to Third World villages in lieu of receiving gifts from friends. The number dwindled in recent years; and this year, none. The chattering classes seem to have given up on sanctimonious and conspicuous charity dressed up as Christmas cheer. So why do I feel guilty? Every gift I unwrapped this year brought visions of a Third World villager peering to the horizon for a goat who would never come. Happy new year to all.

Fettucine with sweet potato and kale and coriander pesto.

That kale was useful in other ways. I ran out of the usual greens for pesto, so I took several fronds of kale (examining carefully for bugs), the rest of the coriander that had run to seed in the blink of an eye (actually, two weeks from maturity) and a handful of parsley also running to seed. The rest of the pine nuts and a few almonds, some garlic just out of the ground last week, half a cup of olive oil, and half a cup of grated hard cheese. Plenty of pepper and salt. Blitz. Cook the fettucine (green and red for a little jaded year-end colour), boil cubes of sweet potato, drain the pasta, fold through sweet potato with a little olive oil. Top with a tablespoon of sour cream and the pesto on that. More grated parmesan. Heaven.

Chicken tonight?

A new ad for a chicken company boasts that its chickens get to run around in the sun and climb ramps. (Then they have their heads cut off and are plucked, but that's later.) The fate of chickens is something of a national obsession, which is why chicken producers are hitting back with images of farmyard bliss, where every fowl is happy, for three months. The producers are on the defensive from chicken freedom fighters, a loose axis of lobby groups battling for territorial expansionism to allow chickens to walk, Rousseau-like, away from the confines of their crowded cages and into a solitude and peace they might not otherwise know. But are chickens their own worst enemy? After giving chickens access to open space via doors leading from their barn to freedom, one major producer found the chickens were actually refusing to venture outside, preferring to sit in their stalls or scratch about in the dirt inside the barn. The freedom fighters hit back, demanding the ungrateful chick