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Authenticity Comes through Walking the Walk

Ditching the Drive-Thru by Natalie Winch is an authentic book. Authentic because she is not a full-time writer with a team of research assistants, but rather is full-time teacher/mom/wife with many side interests. She wrote this book as a way of sharing her own ─ as she calls it ─ food odyssey. Over time she […]

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Stirring fruit mash in vinegar making

Vinegar Making’s Long History

Vinegar is among those products that were not invented but rather discovered by chance. As long as alcoholic drinks like beer and wine have existed, vinegar has formed—at first on its own, purely inadvertently—when these drinks were left standing. With no knowledge of how to preserve beer and wine, storing them long-term inevitably produces vinegar. […]

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ingredient panel

A New Generation of Enlightenment

In the grocery store the other day we spied two young boys, perhaps eleven or twelve years old, reading the ingredients panel of a package of sugar-frosted, cream-filled dessert cakes bearing some ludicrous name from a decade gone by. Perhaps years ago they would have dug into their pockets for the coins to buy them, but […]

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Considering Shop Class as Soulcraft

Americans, in general, have an unyielding faith in our collective ability to fix it. Fix any­thing. Fix everything. The topic of repair is an interesting one. In fact, it’s almost a novelty. Our planned-obsolescence, toss-don’t-fix society is severely lacking in repairmen. High school shop classes were by and large shuttered in the 1990s. Liability risks […]

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Skilled craftsmanship. working with gold

A Renaissance of Craftsmanship

Not too many years ago even the most awkward, clumsy public school students suffered through industrial arts (for boys), and home economics (for girls). Looking beyond the embedded sexism for a moment, it’s pretty obvious that a lot of good came from bringing a trainload of bad pencil holders and hotpads into the world. By […]

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William Morris textile 1876

A Kind of Revival . . .

“Of late years, however, a kind of revival has been going on, as a protest against the conviction that, with all our modern mechanical achievements, comforts, and luxuries, life is growing “uglier every day,” as Mr. [William] Morris puts it. Even our painters are driven to rely rather on the accidental beauty which, like a struggling […]

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