Let's sit down for a meal.  Figuratively, not literally. 

Literal meals have become quite adventuresome of late, with generous helpings of science and fusions and exotic ingredients. 

Dana Goodyear captures the mood in her book Anything That Moves


The rationale for regulations on food production is clear: we don't want what we eat to kill us. 

We seldom fear sudden death from our food, and that's thanks to effective regulations. 

But do the rules stifle innovation, too?  Baylin Linnekin says yes.  He's a lawyer specializing in food and agriculture. 

And in his book Biting The Hand That Feeds Us, he points to a slew of regulations meant to protect people that actually keep perfect edible food off the market. 

KellyB/Mandarin Restaurant/Wikimedia

No matter how hard we try, we can't quite get our food to taste like it does in a restaurant.  What's missing? 

Well, salt, maybe, but the list has got to be longer than that. 

We get some kitchen insider knowledge from a couple of people who make their livings making food for others.  Billy Buscher is the chef at Alchemy in Ashland, Melissa McMillan works at Sammich and Pastrami Zombie. 


You've probably seen packages in food stores of products containing "ancient grains."  It does NOT mean they've been on the shelf for a while. 

Our ancestors grew different crops from what we grow and eat now, and some of the old ones offered benefits missing from today's food. 

Dr. Jayanath Abeywickrama--he goes by "Dr. Abey"--is a proponent of growing and eating rice varieties from 2,000 years ago. 

Penguin Random House

Paul Graham loves his wheat, but his body does NOT. 

Graham, a lover of artisan bread and homemade beer, had to give those items up when he developed celiac disease. 

Switching to a gluten-free diet was no small feat, but he's done it. 

He shares the story of discovering his affliction in In Memory Of Bread

Mike Midlo /

"Vote with your dollars" is a common phrase, meaning support businesses you agree with by buying their products (and vote against other companies by NOT buying theirs).  

How well does that work in food products?  That is a question Kristy Athens considers in her work, which includes an Oregon Conversation Project event called "Good Food, Bad Food: Agriculture, Ethics and Personal Choice."  


We love to eat, that much is clear. 

One clear indicator: we love to talk about food.  And another chance to do just that is offered by the Oregon Humanities Conversation Project event called "We Are What We Eat: Connecting Food and Citizenship."

The chat will be offered for free at the Illinois Valley Branch of Josephine Community Libraries Friday (May 13th) at 5 PM. 

Keller & Keller/

Adam Danforth's books are not for everyone; vegetarians in particular will likely take a pass. 

But he knows animals and how to cut them into meat. 

He studied slaughtering and butchering at college, and is now a James Beard Award winner for his books on the subject

Basic Books

Many parents have watched a child open a well-stocked refrigerator, only to declare "there's nothing to eat."  Well, nothing THEY want to eat.

The choices we make about food are shaped by our parents, sure, but also culture and gender and just plain hunger, among other forces. 

Food writer and historian Bee Wilson examines those forces in her book First Bite

Basic Books

Maybe someday we'll be able to eat meat created in a laboratory, without any animals being harmed.  But... WOULD we eat that? 

Our love affair with eating animals dates back a long way, long before the likes of our current species walked the Earth. 

In the book Meathooked, Marta Zaraska looks into the many ways in which we have fed our addiction with eating meat... and display some reluctance to give up the addiction. 

Chronicle Books

You've heard the old song... "toe bone connected to the foot bone," and so on. 

For a trio of Southern Oregon entrepreneurs, being connected to bones has become a business. 

Bare Bones, A Broth Company, makes broths made from animal bones--for cooking, for drinking, for whatever. 

Bare Bones is dedicated to healthy broth free of questionable ingredients. 

And the company's approach made it into a cookbook, too. 

Co-founders Ryan and Katherine Harvey (Mark Patterson is the other founder) packed 125 recipes into the book. 

Chronicle Books

If you're looking for something hearty to prepare for a winter meal and want to get a little exotic, your geographical reach does not need to go beyond North America. 

There's plenty of interesting stuff to put on the table from the Southern U.S., including Southern Soups and Stews.

Nancie McDermott, long a preparer and writer of Southern cuisine, packs some mouth-watering recipes into her book. 

Jessica Placzek/KQED

It used to be that farms were cleared to make way for housing developments. Now, developments are making room for farms.

Agricultural neighborhoods — or agrihoods — are neighborhoods with urban farms. They are being sown across California, and buyers are eating them up.


It's time for the Oregon Honey Festival once again, but not all the discussion is sweetness and light. 

After all, bees face a number of challenges, including from the continued broad use of pesticides. 

Marie Simmons, considered a honey taste expert, will be a speaker at the festival. 


It probably started a couple of weeks ago... neighbors giving you piles of zucchini, sharing the bounty of their summer gardens. 

We have good growing conditions and good growers here, but can you use all the zucchini/apples/corn before they begin to rot in your kitchen? 

The answer is an emphatic YES, at least in the hands of De Davis-Guy. 

She is both Master Gardener and Master Food Preserver through Oregon State University's Extension Service

  Some of those berries growing on bushes look like they might be mighty tasty. But they could also be poisonous, so we walk on by. It's great to know WHICH plants that grow wild are edible. 

  John Kallas of Wild Food Adventures possesses that knowledge. He also shares it, like in a session coming to the Eugene Library on September 2nd. 

  The recent news that the Earth's population could hit 11 billion by the end of the century should give anyone pause.

Maybe we are capable of feeding all those mouths with current agricultural technology, but what if large chunks of farmland are rendered unusable by climate change? These are the questions Joel K. Bourne, Jr. considers in his book "The End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World.

Workman Publishing

It doesn't take a big budget to cook creatively. 

Leanne Brown set out to prove that in her cookbook Good and Cheap

It is designed for the SNAP (food stamp) budget, which comes to about $4 a day for meals. 

And the author puts her money where her mouth is: the book is available as a free PDF download online, as well as in a tangible version. 

Perigee Books

April Peveteaux does not avoid gluten because avoidance is trendy.

She has celiac disease, which produces a painful reaction to gluten. 

But she's fought the stuff to a standstill... witness her blog, "Gluten Is My Bitch."

You've heard of people who tried to do something different for an entire year?

Megan Kimble may have set herself the hardest task of all: attempting to spend an entire year NOT eating processed foods. 

Easy for someone who already eats whole foods, maybe, but a trick for the rest of us. 

The journey led to Megan Kimble's book Unprocessed, in which she takes up her year-long challenge while living in a city, far from farms.