Category Archives: Food

More beef

In the comments of the previous post, Simon notes the big trucker rally in Albany today protesting Thruway tolls and gas prices (are they also protesting the Finger Lakes trash truck agreement?) Hate to say it, but I wonder if that honking sound you hear is the sound of dying dinosaurs. I was on the Thruway yesterday and it occurred to me that this might be the last generation to see so many trucks on the highways. Even if the Chinese raise the price of fuel for their own consumers, thus temporarily lowering global demand for oil, rail will probably be the future of freight.

I was at Letchworth State Park earlier in the week. If you are camping at Letchworth, and can’t hike 17 miles or more, an automobile is required to see all the sights (it takes a couple of minutes to drive even from the camping check-in to the actual campsites). As far as I could tell, the park has no shuttle service between its major attractions, which would seem like a no-brainer just in terms of being eco-friendly, not to mention kinder to visitors’ gas budgets. Letchworth has cute warning signs written in a vaguely 1950s-style Populuxe font; but the park still exists in a 1950s-style time warp where the personal automobile rules. Maybe it’s time to re-think that.

So, that’s my first beef. My second beef is with beef. I got mild food poisoning from a hamburger during my stay. Just enough to make me consider going a little more vegan on these trips.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

CNY ecoBlog takes a quick look at today’s bombshell that Syracuse is somehow the city with the worst “carbon footprint” in New York. Is Syracuse’s sprawl and highway addiction really worse than Buffalo’s or Rochester’s? C’mon. Despite sprawl without growth being a significant problem in Central New York, I can’t get my mind around why we would be doing that poorly in comparison to other regional cities. In any case, this report is going to cling to this city like poo to a shoe until it gets more thoroughly explicated. Or maybe it will spark more agitation to tear down 81.

Then again, get a load of this map. Our carbon-neutral Western states also happen to be water-negative. Oops.

Fault Lines also decries sprawl-without-growth in the Utica area.

(And that brings us to the other terrible bit of news of the day, the devastating fire at Utica’s F.X. Matt brewery. Lots of brave talk, but then the pain is going to set in. Woe to any Saranac fans out there, as they say it’s flying off the shelves now.)

Choose your choices

Cookin’ in the ‘Cuse is celebrating a birthday. Happy bloggiversary to Syracuse’s leading food blog! Jennifer also posts about her busy schedule and quotes E.B. White:

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

Economists continue to natter about whether we’re in a recession. Everyone is changing their habits regardless. I’m not a hard believer in “peak oil,” but I wonder if this is what it would look like: people flooding state parks instead of flying away for vacation; more people taking public transportation; airlines cancelling flights and flying slower to save fuel? Here in Syracuse, I don’t know if the larger trends are that noticeable. I mean, we already have an OK bus system; we use nearby state parks (ie Green Lakes) on a regular basis for fun; and the airlines seem to ignore us anyway. Nevertheless, I’m sure everyone is planning some sort of cutback.

One cutback for me has been food — or rather, changing my approach to eating. I don’t think I consume too much in general, but I just never plan my meals (dinner being the worst). Since my teens, I’ve eaten like I was raised by wolves. Maybe this is an opportunity to grow up and ensure there is something coherent to at least heat up — and savor — at the end of the day. This involves thinking things through and buying more versatile ingredients. (Sea salt and cracked pepper potato chips are tasty, but not too many recipes call for them.)

But I’m not going to ditch my current car for a Prius just yet. I like my car (no, it’s not a Hummer), and I’d rather keep driving it to places and people I care most about, and taking a bus to the other places. Maybe that’s a politically incorrect choice, but that’s the one I’m making right now.

I’m concerned that some people, especially in previously “prosperous” places that have to take a harder economic fall, are going to hurl themselves in a panic at too many choices, too soon — perhaps with disastrous results. Ironically, we have to pick and choose the choices we have enough energy to make wisely, so complicated our society has become.

Paterson in Syracuse

David Paterson was in Syracuse today for his first official visit as guv. (If you didn’t hear him on WSYR, they’re re-running it at 7 p.m.)

I’m getting the sense that Paterson has a much better public relations staff than Spitzer ever did. Maybe he studied at the Schumer School of Press Releasing, but it’s like there’s something specific and targeted coming Upstate’s way from his office every couple of days, and it’s getting into the blogosphere quickly. Like this one about the Finger Lakes trash truck issue. (Living in Dryden has all you need to know about what’s been going on with that and who the players are.) Some newsworthy stuff, like the big fire in the Catskills, I heard about first from a Paterson press release as opposed to the traditional media.

Paterson will need all his PR skills to overcome the ire of the state employee unions, though, after his ultimatum about state agency hiring. Between his chumminess with Joe, his backing of Bloomberg on congestion pricing, and this, he’s turning out a virtual Republican. Who knew?

And while I know he’s being lambasted lately for being too much of a Mr. Nice Guy who gave away too many details about his personal shortcomings, then there are stories like this one about the realities of being a legally blind governor and I just want to root for him and say damn, I hope he can do it. I’ve been watching Dancing with the Stars this season and one of the competitors is Marlee Matlin, who is of course deaf. She had a great start, but has been running into some trouble now, and she may not have a fairy-tale ending in the competition — not because it’s impossible for her to do (it would be impossible for me to do!), but because she probably could use more practice time than the show allows. I admire how frank Paterson is about his handicap.