What a happy life it would be only to cultivate raspberries.
- Alice B. Toklas
Welcome to my food blog, documenting gastronomical adventures in Eugene and the surrounding Willamette Valley in Western Oregon.
We live in one of the richest culinary regions in the country with products that are achingly delicious and relatively inexpensive, a creative, young foodie population with energy from transplants and new organic farmers, a local culinary school, and a wealth of experience in agriculture, horticulture, and canning.
And yet, Eugene makes odd choices — Lane County recently voted to effectively eliminate the Extension service in our county, nearly bringing to an end almost 100 years of research-based education about the things we grow and eat locally. (It’s struggling to stay alive now on temporary grants that we hope will see us into a better economic climate.) We continue to support restaurants overcharging for mediocre, traditional food, and there is no reliable local restaurant review network. Things have begun to change, but I believe we will enable lasting shifts in our culinary paradigm if we are educated about the fine produce, meats, seafood, and cheese we cultivate in Oregon. As I learn myself, I hope to share what I know with you.
What This Blog Is Not
This blog is not nostalgic or romantic. It does not feature pictures of cute animals or children or an unfolding love story. I am too curmudgeonly to write about these things. There are plenty of food blogs spiced with transformative tales and hearts and flowers. I like my food straight up.
OK, there may be an occasional flower.
It’s also not a diatribe against non-local food. Yes, I try to eat mostly local and seasonal and mostly not anything processed in big factories by corporate giants. In particular, I avoid HFCS and most foods with artificial preservatives, which I can taste. But removing every speck of non-local food seems akin to an eating disorder to me; plus, it’s ignoring the globally interdependent world in which we live. And sometimes local products are not as good or sustainable as non-local products. Plus, I am weak in the knees for Spanish cheese, Japanese soy sauce, Scandinavian licorice, Hungarian paprika, and Italian vermouth. When I travel, I write about what I find.
And it’s not a place for advertisers to advertise. It would bother me greatly to be waxing poetic on the merits of growing your own food with a big ad for Kraft macaroni and cheese on the top of the blog. I do, occasionally and with all the legal disclaimers necessary, accept a product or service to try or travel to a destination if I think it might have educational value and I have time to write about it. Some bloggers feel this is an ethical violation, but I don’t really have a problem if I keep the review or recap honest.
If you feel differently, please read the blog anyway. There’s room in the world for dissenting opinions. I will tell you that you’re wrong, though. :)
Who Do You Think You Are?
I write and teach about modern literature, sexuality, and literary food. I finished my Ph.D. in English literature in 2009, and am fortunate to have a fantastic job teaching literature at the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. I lead an interdisciplinary food studies research interest group through the Center for the Study of Women in Society, which hosts visiting scholars, reading groups, and works-in-progress talks in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
I’m also very involved in our community’s local food shed, offering workshops on preservation and volunteering for the Master Food Preserver hotline as much as I can. I write reviews and local food articles as a freelancer for the Eugene Weekly and the Register-Guard. I’ve been a judge and the MC at the Iron Chef Eugene competition at the Bite of Eugene festival and I serve as a co-host on our local NPR affiliate’s Food for Thought radio program (listen in on KLCC, noon to 1 p.m. on Sundays).
I was certified as a Master Food Preserver through the OSU Extension service, and I write most often about food preservation and seasonal foods that grow well in our region.
Most of all, I am someone who loves Eugene and am thankful to make it my home. I grew up in the Midwest and spent many years in California, both north and south. I’ve also lived in Connecticut and Maryland. We’ve never found a better place to live. I hope, more than anything, that this love comes through in my food blog.
Maybe that’s my nostalgic love story. Yes.
Please note all text and images are mine, unless carefully marked, and I will not take kindly to reuse without permission. Excerpting my work under “fair use” is fine, as long as you credit my blog. I don’t mind sharing for certain educational purposes with appropriate citation.
Feel free to contact me at wellsuited at gmail dot com if you’d like to republish something I’ve created or to discuss freelance work. I’d be happy to hear from you!
Your hostess Eugenia