Saturday, May 25, 2013
Denis Thoet and his partner, Michele Roy, own Long
News item in local weekly: "The first Augusta Whoopie Pie Challenge Festival will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Utilitarian (sic) Universalist Community Church at 69 Winthrop Street."
I love those Utilitarians. They are always doing something useful, especially when it comes to whoopie pies. I think we should go a few steps farther. It's not enough that whoopie pies are in line to be crowned Maine's state dessert, or state snack, or something. It's time to replace "Dirigo" on the State Seal with something more appropriate, like "Whoopie!"
While we are at it, we should adopt a new State Song, like "Makin' Whoopie," and a new State Pillow, the Whoopie Cushion.
To backtrack just a little -- it's hard to imagine a zero-nutrition item like a whoopie pie as an official anything. The filling could be made with whipped cream, which has some food value, but it isn't. It's mostly shortening and sugar, in that order. The cake part, chocolate or otherwise, is equally worthless as real food.
I suggest we spend some effort to work with a brand that is already well-established in Maine: The Frost Heave.
Granted, it's not known as a dessert food yet, but let's put out a call for Frost Heave dessert recipes. They could include wild Maine blueberries, Maine cranberries or strawberries, maple syrup and some sherbet-like icy ingredient, all shaped into a ball that you can either heave or dig into with a spoon, or both. Maybe like a slush ball.
The best thing is that signs advertising this product will be going up all over the state in the next few weeks. Let's put that to our advantage and be ready with a product.
Send your recipes to: Long Meadow Farm, 29 Long Meadow Drive, West Gardiner, ME 04345. We'll take it from there.
I was living in Stonington when the bottle bill first came up for a vote in 1978. It seemed like a long shot. The economy was shaky; Jim Longley was our idiosyncratic governor.
A few enterprising citizens went out and stood up all the bottles alongside the road so that when you drove around, especially at night, all you could see was thousands of bottles and cans glittering before you.
We can't go back to those days.
THE FUTURE OF FOOD
Have you thought of where your food might come from 20 to 30 years from now when the world commodity food systems -- based on fossil fuels for fertilizer, pesticides and transport -- collapse or become too expensive? Read this new book, "Empires of Food," by Evan Fraser and Andrew Rimas.
The food system of the future will be composed of farms that "are smallish, diverse and serving customers not too far away. This is called bioregionalism," they write.
To feed a population of 6 billion, "this bioregional system has to nest within a global trading network. Global food and local food offset each other's failings. Local food is thrifty with energy and buffered from faraway disasters. Global food is economically efficient and, more importantly, it puts mangoes and salmon on our dinner tables. We need the global system so that regions can specialize -- to a degree," the authors continue. "This combination of global and local ... is the best hope we have of sustaining our modern food empire."
I take issue with using the word "efficiency" to describe any large-scale agriculture -- our farm can produce far more real, edible food on an acre of Maine ground that any corn, wheat or soy farmer in the Midwest.
The authors stayed away from mentioning "organic" or "industrial" in their portrait of the future. That's not a bad way to look into the future, but it's going to take a small revolution in our agripolitics, and especially our eating habits to make the transition.
So let's just express a guarded "whoopie" for our future prospects.
Denis Thoet and his partner, Michele Roy, own Long Meadow Farm in West Gardiner, email@example.com