Brain food, body food

Two recent reads that I heartily enjoyed and recommend:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life: I believe I found this one via the WPL‘s website recommendations. It’s by Barbara Kingsolver, but is not fiction like her usual efforts. It also seemed a good complement to The 100-Mile Diet, which I have on the hold list.

Having grown up in the country, many things in this book made me smile, and it made me jones for a garden something fierce… which kinda sucks when you live in an apartment. 🙂 It did, however, make me grateful for my most excellent local farmers’ market (well, we have two, but I almost exclusively go to St. Jacobs). It was also nice to read such an evocative, positive, personal level book — books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma are excellent and everyone should read them, but the scale addressed can be a bit overwhelming.

1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina: This was a recommendation by Violet. Chris Rose is a journalist in New Orleans, and this is a compilation of his columns for the Times-Picayune after Hurricane Katrina. They illustrate what the city and the people have gone through and continue to go through, but there is also his personal story interwoven, which contains plenty of demons. He is post-hurricane New Orleans in microcosm.

I’ve never been to the city, but one of my first thoughts post-Katrina was an acute regret that I hadn’t been “before”. And I don’t think it’ll ever be the same, but despite the upheaval and despair inherent in the stories, there is still the inkling that one day it will still be okay to go. Bruised and battered though the city and its remaining or returned inhabitants are, they are still New Orleans, and there is only one.

And on screen…

SharkWater: I saw this documentary recommended online somewhere, though the source escapes me (of, course, it is currently the Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week). The description was something like, “Like An Inconvenient Truth, but for sharks”. And it’s very true.

The filmmaker, Rob Stewart, is the narrator, and honestly, he shouldn’t be (though at the same time he kind of has to be…) His voice and modulation aren’t right, and are distracting, though eventually you kind of get used to it. The visuals are stunning, however, with plenty of amazing underwater footage.

A lot of the out of water footage, however, is utterly disgusting. Globally, shark populations are estimated to have declined 90% (yes, NINETY) in recent years, and the documentary illustrates why, focusing a lot on the shark fin industry (they’re a delicacy in soup in Asia). I knew what shark finning was prior to watching this, but watching hooked sharks yanked from the water, have all their fins sliced off and tossed in buckets, then get the sharks get thrown back overboard to sink to the bottom and die of asphyxiation and blood loss is enraging and pretty much makes you want to throw up.

At a number of points they explain the differences between land-based and ocean conservation — how it’s so much easier to “sell” for cute and cuddly mammals than for sharks, which we’ve been trained to fear. (Sharks kill, on average, five (yes, FIVE) people a year globally, less than… oh, just about everything else.) All in all, an excellent piece, and certainly worthy of the many awards it’s won so far.

And switching gears to food for the tummy, Andrew and I tried out S.O.S. BBQ last evening, which is a welcome addition to the local victuals scene. It’s located on Lobsinger Line, which is the road jutting left off Wagner’s Corners at King St. between the St. Jacobs Farmers Market and St. Jacobs. (It takes you to Heidelberg.)

The place is a trailer with attached BBQ equipment, and is located off to the side of the parking lot at Bast Tire (you have to turn right onto Bast’s side street and then go around the front of their parking lot). The place is open 11am to 7pm, and I’m sure he’ll do a brisk lunch business. If weekend Market-goers hear about him, he’s money.

Though we were there quite close to closing, the meals were still quite good. We had piled brisket and pulled pork, and Andrew and I agree we want to try the ribs. (They need eight hours’ notice for orders.) I quite like the tangy Carolina-style sauce, which I’ve never had before. (Though overall, sweet-ish rib sauce is my favourite.)

The sides are typical — corn, potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, etc. — and nothing special, really, but honestly, who’s there for anything but the meat? I look forward to going back during the meatier (hah!) part of business hours and sampling more of the menu. Will also have to take my parents. Recommended — give him a try, have some delicious BBQ, and support local business!