Saturday, March 20, 2010

Seedy behavior, as usual

In the fall of 2008, I moved back to Berkeley, CA, where my plan was to write things I wanted to write -- leaving deadlines aside while doing all those things you can't usually do because you've got some editor sitting on your head for a 2,500 word piece on the dangers of anti-depressants. But kicking workaholism after a decade in New York City for me was as futile as promising to only eat half of a carne asada super burrito and save the rest for later. So I filled out my days by volunteering at the John Muir Elementary School, working with Farmer Jasper (Eiler) and Chef Carrie (Orth) in the gardening and cooking program.  I originally intended to spend a few hours a week at the school, but as soon as I entered the magical, amphitheater-structured garden hidden in the courtyard of John Muir, it became closer to a few hours a day. While the kids got to learn where food comes from, the basic science behind gardening, from weather patterns to nitrogen in the soil, and how to prepare simple, yet interesting recipes, etc. -- I do believe I benefited equally as their average kindergarten- to fifth-grade-level student.  (p.s. Caitlin Flanagan, you can SUCK IT. More on her Atlantic Monthly piece later.) And now, it comes full circle. A few weeks ago I was assigned two pieces on gardening for, which not only prompted me to interview the Berkeley Unified School District's Edible Schoolyard mentor/adviser Wendy Johnson, but also a staff gardener at the High Line park and the curator of the Central Park Conservatory Garden. It also instigated my new East Village roof top garden experiment.

Read about growing an edible garden here, with photos here.
Or creating a cutting garden here , with a slideshow here.

And while we're at it, I have another story in this month's Men's Health (April 2010), a nutrition piece on cooking with oil.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

She'd Be California

Landed in Southern California yesterday to sunny, clear and 82F degrees. The forecast looks perfect, and the surf this morning was clean and chest to head high. Nice to be home.

New York, my love, you're not lookin' so bad yourself.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

She & Him

Just heard that my profile on Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, collectively known as the musical duo She & Him, is out in the current issue of Nylon.  I interviewed them about their new album, Volume 2, when I was in California a couple months ago. I tried to pull some dirt out, but all I got were pink-nosed bunny rabbits and buttercream-frosted vegan cupcakes. They got that laid-back native Californian thing down like City Bakery has with hot cocoa and cubic marshmallows. It was a surprisingly difficult story to write. Haven't picked up any copies yet, but here are some preview photos my editor had sent me.