Category Archives: Food

The Sun Will Set On The Open-Air Farm

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Not today. Probably not this century. In the next, I’d be shocked if it didn’t start happening. Outdoor farms in their sprawling plant-filled glory will one day be extinct in most “developed” countries and will be a marker of terrible, desperate poverty.

There are already experiments in urban and/or indoor farming. Experiments and practical endeavors, in fact. With tall racks of trays and hydroponic and similar setups, optimized artificial lighting and harvesting, and total climate control (oh, this is the next paragraph right here, just you wait and see) an indoor farm can produce a LOT more food in the same volume of old-fashioned dirt farm.

And there’s another benefit, one that will grow much more valuable as time advances. You see, the climate is changing, and we humans changed it mainly by burning billions of tons of the distilled hundreds-of-millions-of-years-old forests and dinosaurs we call oil, coal, and natural gas. You can’t burn that much carbon-bearing material and not impact the environment you release it into. Deny it if you want, but the facts say it’s changing and we had a lot to do with it.

Climate change changes farming. Extreme weather events become more common because the global flows of air and heat are disrupted and you can’t disrupt a gigantic complex system without introducing chaos. Rainfall patterns and which land is suited for what crop change as wet land becomes arid (and presumably vice-versa as it’s a big globe with more than the USA in it), and temperatures and season lengths change.

So how do you escape chaotic weather that threatens crops? How do you immunize yourself against the shifting of agricultural zones under the whip of a changing global climate?

You move indoors, of course.

One day, our farms will be many, many thousands of enormous warehouse spaces full of light and the smell of growing things while the hot breath of the climate we screwed up howls against the doors.

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Commander Kitty Is Unsure…

…as to whether or not he digs his new digs. We humans, though, ARE sure. This is a definite improvement!

I’ve been silent here for a while. We’ve been moving. Goodbye 1968 sub-single-wide trailer home with slowly collapsing floors and significant amounts of black mold.

Hello 2nd floor apartment with balconies in a 100+ year old brick building that has been remodeled enough to (hallelujah!) have a modern amount of electrical sockets.

And there’s a real stove. For SEVEN FRICKIN YEARS I have cooked with electric skillets and hotplates because the trailer had a propane stove and it turns out it’s EXPENSIVE AF to cook (or heat!) with propane.

Finances, as always, remain tight. We’re just happy to be able to juuuuuuust afford to upgrade from substandard housing that would likely be condemned if anyone looked closely, to something decent.

If you’re not already, consider giving my family and writing a boost by checking out my Patreon page.Early blog posts and sometimes exclusive looks at rough drafts, even free ebooks.

Commander Kitty says thanks for reading.

What Kind Of Provincial A-Hole Thinks Jambalaya Is UnAmerican?

I mean, seriously. How ignorant and/or priggish do you have to be?

Also, sweet potato pie is almost as regional as jambalaya. Maybe this isn’t about “froo-froo” food, but about Erick’s prejudices and his desire to pronounce anything that isn’t familiar and comforting to him “wrong.”

What a cringing prick.

Food Printing Could Change So Much

Food printing right now is limited to stuff like pasta and candy. Simple stuff with few ingredients.

But imagine a day when it’s quick and simple to print a burger or pizza or steak.

I don’t know that day will come — it’s difficult to imagine the incredible advances it would take to do such a thing.

But if it gets done it seems likely to proceed like computer tech, from bulky and expensive to cheap and ubiquitous in a generation or two.

Maybe by 2218 we’ll see something like that. It would knock the guts out of the restaurant industry. Make famine response easier. Probably make us all even fatter. It might kill the cooking professions, or make them boutique commodities for rich showoffs.

I would totally buy a food printer. I’d print a box of meringues right now.

Culinary Adventure: Savory Leftovers Pancakes

These were born of “I have no idea what to cook for breakfast” and “leftovers are overrunning the fridge.”

I’m sorry to say I have no well-defined recipe to offer because I winged that mother.

I had cooked rice, so I tossed a few handfuls of rice in the bowl. Leftover pork chop, so I gave a large chop a rough mince (PLEASE don’t try this with a raw chop, it doesn’t cook long enough for that) and tossed it in. Then to probably 4 cups total ingredients I added about a cup of chickpea flour, three eggs, and a splat of margarine (that should be an official measure), maybe a quarter cup.

Garlic powder, onion powder, a teaspoon or so of coriander, a dash of salt (like many pan fried things, I figured it would be best to put most of the salt on the outside).

Final consistency should be stiff and stand up in a little pile in the spoon.

Into a lightly oiled pan in heaped tablespoons. Let them brown on the first side. Turn, then flatten.

When they’re nice and brown on both sides, smear a little butter on top and dig in.

I’m sure it will be fine with just about any solid leftovers whether meat or vegetables.

As you can see, my cooking process is a lot like my writing style: I just sort of wing things and they usually work out. Probably because I’ve had a lot of practice at both cooking and writing.

How do I know they were good? The kids ate them as fast as they eat hot dogs, and that’s fast.

Making The World’s Sexiest Sausage Patty Melts BRB

I mean, just look at ’em.

The electric skillet is set on 275 so they’re taking forever but they’re getting so perfect and toasty and melty.

When You’re Too Lazy To Make Toast… 

… you make a cheese and egg noodles omelet so the carbohydrate is built into your breakfast. The topping is parmesan, smoked paprika, and celery salt. 

Breakfast For Dinner… 

…and I’m not screwing around. 

I cut the bread an inch and a half thick and *soaked* it in the egg & milk & probably more vanilla extract than *you* would add & dark brown sugar & cardamom & a teeny pinch of salt mix so it’ll be nice and custardy and delicious all the way through.

Use medium heat if you do it this way. It takes time to cook the middle.

What’s For Dinner, Sandwiches, Breakfast Chops… 

So, whole pork loin, if you can catch a decent price or sale, weighs in at less than a buck and a half per pound. Good price for good lean meat. Mine, above, is a little shorter than when I bought it because I cut about a pound off the end to make delicious schnitzel.

But that’s another story.

My whole grilled pork loin recipe started as a quest to make a cheap home alternative to smoked pork chops, which are strictly a luxury at 7 bucks a pound.

The loin isn’t exactly the same, but it is as delicious and similar in flavor.

In fact, I think it’s better. And as a brined, smoked, cooked meat it lasts a long time in the fridge, giving you time to eat every last morsel. 

I plop the whole thing in a big pot and toss in a cup of salt. Maybe a cup and a half, since I tend to freehand it. Then about a dozen bay leaves (dirt cheap at Hispanic or Caribbean grocery stores), maybe a tablespoon of whole allspice, a quarter cup or so of whole coriander (dirt cheap at Indian grocery stores),  a sprinkle of whole cloves (ten-ish), and a cup and a half of unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

Sometimes I add a couple of packets of culantro y achiote sazon (sorry about no accent on the o – posting from mobile with limited keyboard) for variety.

Add water to just cover the loin. 

Then I let that sucker marinate for 24 hours.

Grill slowly – an actual smoker is best but you can fake it by heaping all the coals to one side and keeping the meat on the other unless your grill is very small. You want to take at least 2 hours to cook the thing. The one pictured took 4.

It’s great smoked with hickory chips but cherrywood is even better. 

Pull it at around 165°F. Give it at least 15 minutes to rest.

It’s juicy and delicious cut into chops for dinner. Cold and sliced thin it makes a hell of a sandwich. Sliced thick and seared quickly it reheats as chops wonderfully and still moist.

Get up in the middle of the night and hack off a chunk to gnaw on – it’s tasty that way too. 

Hope you enjoyed the food interlude. I did. And I will for breakfast in the morning, too. 

People Kibble: SciFi News 2033

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US in Ottawa Newsletter
January 22, 2033
Patrick Chowdhury Melendez
 
President Trump Jr. “Fights Hunger” With People Kibble
 
Newly inaugurated President Donald Trump Jr. announced a USA-wide anti-hunger program from the so-called “press vault” in Trump Tower in NYC (the de facto White House since 2021) at 5:15 this morning.
Press coverage was limited to fifteen reporters representing the “Gang of Seven” Trump regime-approved media organizations. A source within Trump Tower confirmed that those reporters were brought into the tower during the inauguration for sequestration and “extreme vetting.”
The source also stated the initial number of reporters admitted was sixteen, two per media org. The sixteenth reporter did not appear in footage of the press conference released by Vice President (and former President) Eric Trump. The whereabouts of that reporter are unknown. US in Ottawa staff and other expatriate press speculate that Reporter Sixteen may be Miles DeGuzmen of the popular morning Fox News “Trumping the World” segment, which has been guest-hosted by Sean Spicer since January 19th.
Trump Jr.’s “anti-hunger” program, “Making Americans Healthy,” follows two years of widespread simmering protest and riots in the wake of President Eric Trump’s 2031 federal-level outlawing of the last state-level food stamp, EBT, and WIC legacy programs. Federal welfare programs, including food and financial assistance, were ended in 2023.
Riots were especially intense in spring of 2032 following the revelation of the February malnutrition deaths of Mrs. Jackie Pillman of Little Rock, Arkansas and her kindergarten-age twins, Steven and Stephenie. The President announced that he was “working on a solution” in his Thanksgiving day address to the nation that year. He also vowed to “plug news leaks” in his remarks, thought to be a reference to the anonymous bloggers who produced the viral stories of the Pillman deaths. No arrests were ever announced, though some night disappearances of suspects were rumored in following months.
“Making Americans Healthy” relies on National Guard detachments (formally placed under federal control in 2021), which are directed to distribute one fifty pound bag of UNGR (Universal Nutrition Granular Recipe, a soy and peanut based, vitamin-enriched food dubbed “Purina Human Chow” in expatriate media) to any citizen who reports in person with two approved forms of federal identification to a distribution point on the 5th and 20th of each month.
“UNGR is a terrific food that provides everything adults and children need to be healthy and well-fed,” President Trump Jr. said in the released presser footage. “The taste is a bit boring, sure. I’ve tried it. But if people are hungry, they’ll come and get it, and they’ll be thankful for it. If they don’t like the taste, great. Maybe they’ll get off their asses and get jobs. There are so many jobs that the CEOs of factories and construction companies come to me every day begging me to find them workers.”
Independent economic analysts in the EU and India estimate actual US employment at 25-30%, or 60-65% if the chronically underemployed are included. US figures, released by law exclusively by press release from the Oval Office since 2024, place US unemployment at a radically unlikely 2.2%.