Tasting all life has to offer - and Preserving What we Can

"As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans."

Risk, Rewards, Oysters, and Pearls

Risks in life often yield rewards. Sometimes you can reap huge rewards for very little risk. Food is one of the aspects of life that affords us great thrills for comparatively little risk. Consider the oyster. Some may view it as scary, risky, even icky. But one slurp can open that most wonderful of worlds - paraphrasing Hemingway: an oyster reminds us of possibility.

Possibility is what Kim O'Donnel helped people feel about food and cooking. That is a gift. Even people who were afraid to cook, or maybe were a little tentative about trying new things, found a comforting friend in Kim's columns and her chats. Pearls of culinary wisdom and encouragement are her forté. Her last column for A Mighty Appetite is wonderful (see: Tasting All Life Has to Offer) and the comments on it show how important she is in the lives of so many readers and followers.

Well, recently, my friend Kim left The Washington Post and started two new endeavors. (This reminds me of a salty old broad I once knew with a husband and a live in friend. The whole family happily ignoring the ahem circumstances in deference to her, a woman of big appetites for whom one man was obviously not going to be sufficient. But, that's a story for another day...) After so many years at The Washington Post, it must have felt risky to leave. But Kim quickly found her footing, as anyone who knows her for five minutes would have predicted. First, she began the wonderful live chat Table Talk, Thursdays at 1 PM EST on Culinate. Click here to see full transcripts of prior weeks or to join the discussion any Thursday. You will find a welcoming group of cooks and foodies from award-winning cookbook authors to novices to whom you may be able to offer your own advice. There are always tons of recipes, links and tips shared - it is well worth eating your lunch at your desk on Thursdays!

The other new endeavor for Kim is the the True/Slant column she's now authoring called Licking Your Chops. It's an exciting new online news source that offers more editorial content and news analysis than many of the blogs or aggregators, and even than many news sources, sadly. "News is more than what happens" is their tagline. Here is Kim's True/Slant column. One of her first posts got picked up by a little newspaper you may have heard of...The New York Times. And, it was on a subject near and dear to my heart, sustainable seafood. See her take on some simple rules to follow in an ever-changing field, here.

The Canvolution will not be Televised. But it will be online!

With the farm-to-table movement hitting its stride and the recession digging in its heels, the return to food preservation and the frugal ways of our past. Mark Kurlansky's Food of a Younger Land is one example of this return to our culinary past. Another example is the canning revolution. Of course, Kim caught wind of it out on the West Coast (see here) and quickly buzzed up a Google group, a blog Canning Across America, a twitter feed @Canvolution. There's also a Flickr Pool: here Cans Across America.

  • Kim asked: What if we, as an ad hoc group of cooks, writers, gardeners and sustainable-minded folk declared the weekend of 8/29-30 the first Cans Across America public effort?
  • I spread the word amongst my Boston area friends, chefs, foodies, and it looks as if Linsey of @CakeandCommerce on Twitter, is taking the lead here.
  • For a fascinating look at how the planets have aligned to support the canvolution (including parallels to prior revolutions and planetary alingments) see Stephanie Gailing's Planetary Apothecary column, Yes We Can.

I can't wait to see what happens here and hope that excess might be donated to shelters or foodbanks, wonder if that's possible?

So back to the future - allons-y!