In honor of the article published this weekend in the awesome Wall Street Journal, where I compare chefs abuse of bacon to showing off cleavage, I tap out this little excerpt from my first book, Urban Pantry from the “Stocking the Pantry” Section.
BACON. I keep a pound of slab bacon in my freezer and cut off little bits at a time for cooking. It’s great in a pot of beans or lentils.
Bacon! An absolute must in the pantry!
Special thanks to writer Charlotte Druckman for coming to my home, sitting at my table and talking up a storm. And, of course, uber-photographer Della Chen. Check out her projects via Eater.
A garden “bed” is a formed mound of soil that is raised higher than the surrounding soil. Often times, gardeners build frames around these, but it is not required. When I use the term garden ‘bed’, I simply mean that formed soil whether or not it is framed out. I often build small framed beds for my clients, however, as it keeps things both orderly and visually tidy. Garden beds come in many shapes and sizes and are made of many different materials, but over the years I found that a 6′x4′ bed is the perfect size for a small backyard garden, and here is why.
Firstly, when designing a bed, you want it to be 4 feet to 4 1/2 feet wide at most. This width allows you to reach the center of the bed from the rows, on either side. It is an inefficient use of space to build it any wider, as it ends up being dead space.
Secondly, the ideal length for a bed in an urban environment is 6 feet. When growing vegetables, it is best to work through your crops and rotate diffferent plants throughout each bed – this is called a crop rotation. Rotating crops keeps soil fertile and minimizes the proliferation of disease. If the bed is small enough to plant one entire crop rotation (and rotate other crops through the additional beds), it becomes easier to organize and rotate plants over the course of a growing year. A six foot bed helps to accomlish this. The six foot length allows you to plant 8 to 9 large plants in one bed, such as tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers. This is your fruit rotation and a decent amount of space for summer fruiting plants. You can also fit 8 lettuce heads across a four-foot width. Plenty in just one short row.
Four beds but 4′x6′ is about 100 square feet of growing space – a lot of room and plenty for a family of four to start.
I was graced with a pair of Bogs boots in early fall. Bogs are known as the one-stop shop for farmers everywhere, and the shoes are an agricultural must. I was really looking forward to using them this spring, but I had the chance to break them in early this past December when I wore them to a Tuna Tinning. That’s right, tuna tinning – 1050 pounds of albacore tuna and about 25 people working in tandem to break it down and preserve it. Brilliant.
I was reminded of this as Seattle is under seige from snow just now and lacking snow boots, I threw on my Bogs. Heaven in a shoe. With wool socks, my feet are warm. They are air tight and no snow gets down them even if I’m making snow angels or sledding. And as a total bonus, they look great. If you live in a city with mild winter conditions and have the need for a garden/all around waterproof boot, I highly recommend them for 2012.
Starting today, I am writing writing a biweekly column for FOOD52 on how to start growing your own food, no matter how tiny your garden-to-be is. (Food52 was launched a few years ago and I’ve followed them from day one. It is an awesome food site, a great resource and now even has a rad store with curated food finds.)
So, mark your calendars, send your questions and make a plan………..I am THRILLED to have the resource available to foodies who want to grow.