Meat curing in all its glamour! Yes you are looking at a slab of curing pork belly, a couple weeks into the process, hanging from two meat hooks in one of our basement bedroom closets. No bugs, nice and cool, and perfect humidity. Works for us!

A bit of venting and a bit of cool stuff all mixed in together like sweet and sour…happy October to ya!

  • Did you know that the pig population in North Carolina TRIPLED from 1990 to 2000? Did you know that 7.5M hogs in five eastern North Carolina counties produced more than 15.5M tons of feces, primarily from industrial pig farms, and that these farmers are allowed to store their poop, blood and other bodily fluids in open cesspools then use industrial sprayers to mist over their fields, within feet of residences? If you’re not familiar with the term environmental racism, this is a perfect example. UNC researchers in 2014 found that “Air pollutants from the routine operation of confinement houses, cesspools, and waste sprayers affect nearby neighborhoods where they cause disruption of activities of daily living, stress, anxiety, mucous membrane irritation, respiratory conditions, reduced lung function, and acute blood pressure elevation…the state’s industrial hog operations disproportionately affect African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans.This is where the EPA and the rest of the government could be doing something…but of course, it’s just the opposite. Salon reports that “A new report from the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative details how the Trump administration, primarily the EPA under Scott Pruitt, has been trying to undo gains made by the environmental justice movement, which focuses on how to rectify the disproportionate impact of pollution and environmental damage on marginalized populations.Think it’s not important to pay close attention to where your food comes from?
  • Now speaking of pork, my husband’s pancetta you see pictured above is in mid-cure, expected to be ready by next week to fry up (4-5 lbs of pork belly procured from the local butchers at Western Meat Market). Pancetta can be hung (“tesa” style) or rolled (, and is simply a better, Italian version of bacon. It’s not hard to do and if you go to your butcher and make it (lots of recipes, check this one out), you’ll get a better deal both for your wallet and your taste buds. Can’t WAIT to try this latest cured goodness from Dan’s charcuterie!
  • Sadly, “funding war is something both Democrats and Republicans can agree on” as we see from our elected officials (Oregon rocks, however...our two kickass senators here, Wyden and Merkley were part of the only EIGHT to vote against the $700B+ bill in September for military funding that went beyond what the Pentagon even had asked for), and that grosses me out. In Trevor Timm’s piece in The Guardian, he goes on to remind us that defense contractors “lavish congressmen with campaign contributions and then attempt to terrify everyone that jobs (ie building bombs that kill people) will dry up if Congress doesn’t increase military spending each year,” and how these fuckwads consider healthcare a luxury, with “Any government program meant to help poor people get food, housing or healthcare are analyzed to pieces by deficit trolls in countless op-eds and cable television appearances, as if our economy will suddenly collapse if the government spends just a tiny percentage more to help our most unfortunate.” It’s a twisted fucking world, y’all.
  • While I struggled like hell to get our last four embryos donated to medical research with our fertility clinic (ironically, run by a RE who would rather simply discard them than have his staff pick up the phone and call UCSF or Stanford – both who have stem cell and embryonic research facilities and accept donations, not to mention pay for the shipping), I read another article about the importance of embryonic research with the discovery of how the OCT-4 gene works very differently in human embryos versus mice embryos. The Crick Institute used 41 embryos donated by IVF couples, and stated that “In humans, (OCT4) not only maintains the embryo, but other tissues are affected, and the blastocyst does not form” which was not the same as in mice. The article went on to say that “After showing that gene-editing techniques can highlight the functionality of certain genes in this way, the team hopes other scientists will use these methods to discover the role of other genes and ultimately help improve IVF and avoid miscarriage.” As I continue to grieve my own losses of 9 embryos, including one 9 week pregnancy, not knowing why is one of the hardest things – was it the embryo that was messed up? Was it my body that caused it? I’ll never know. And my RE’s office could give a shit.
  • But hey, I’ll leave y’all with something cool: using turmeric (and other spices) as natural dyes.  This week I experimented on an old white jersey cotton pillowcase using the technique above, with a combination of turmeric and cayenne pepper (I ran out of turmeric so since I had a hunk of cayenne from the bulk section that I used to use to keep away squirrels and such from the backyard, something the ducks are pretty good at these days, I grabbed it!) stirred into a pot of simmering water with pre-soaked (water/vinegar) and wrung out cotton, and left it there for a couple hours. It was such a trip – and turned out a beautiful buttery yellow. That’s pretty rad, I gotta say.

So with that, some good Thursday music to lead you into the weekend (and not that silly bleeped-out version)…


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