About This Blog

What a happy life it would be only to cultivate raspberries.

- Alice B. Toklas

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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!

Regards,

Your hostess Eugenia
Eugene, OR

48 thoughts on “About This Blog”

  1. Brilliant… :) I will be here frequently>

  2. Good job! Love your new blog. Your passion for the subject shines through your words.

  3. Yay! Finally another food blogger in Eugene! After Jocelyn left me (Brownie Points), I was feeling quite alone, so I’m so glad you’re here! And another graduate student, no less. Do you work at the school (we do!)? I’m guessing you live in South Eugene based on some of the comments you’ve made (we do too!)?

  4. Eugenia, so many posts about local food in such a short time. Cheers to that and keep up the great posts!

  5. Hannah said:

    Hi Eugenia,

    Herewith a message from Holland
    I came across your site while searching for the Germany culinaria. I collect the Dutch version of the series.
    Should you have any questions about Dutch recipes, just let me know!

    ciao
    Hannah

  6. Thanks to everyone who has commented with such nice things to say.

    Hannah, thanks for the offer! My post on the Culinaria cookbooks series (http://culinariaeugenius.wordpress.com/2008/02/04/culinaria-cookbooks/ )is by far my most popular post on the search tracker that comes with WordPress blogs. There’s not enough press for these terrific books, in my opinion! I hope you’re enjoying them as much as I am. I wonder when they’ll be coming out with a Culinaria Netherlands cookbook?

  7. I just learned something new today! I had no idea there was such a thing as a certified Master Food Preserver. I’ve been looking at becoming a Master Gardener, but I had no idea!

    Great blog. I’ll be back. :)

  8. elisfoods said:

    I love your blog and will be back soon. I am interested in the Master Food Preserver you mention. Is that a local thing or a national program? I love food!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Eli

  9. Eva and Eli, thanks!

    The Master Food Preserver program is part of the Extension Service offered by public universities across the nation. About a hundred years ago, there was a bill in Congress that established federal matching funds for mainly rural colleges with agricultural programs to extend their services throughout each state. They did this by establishing “Extension Service Offices” in every county that they could. Some of the services these Extension offices provide in your county may include 4-H programs, commercial crop and home gardening advice from certified volunteers, homemaking education and nutrition education for schoolkids and seniors. And, of course, the Master Food Preserver program.

    It all depends on your area, though. Many counties have eliminated Extension altogether, since it relies on federal, state and county-level funding, so if the county is broke, the programming can’t continue. That’s what’s happening in my county, Lane County. We’re in the midst of a big fundraising campaign to keep Extension alive and well in Lane County. We’ve raised $30,000 in the past few months to keep our doors open until June.

    If you’re in Lane County, you might consider taking the Master Food Preserver certification training in 2009, which starts in April (check out the link to the right for more information). You receive 40-plus hours of training, take a certification test, then volunteer 40-plus hours to complete the program. I’d strongly recommend taking it this year, just because funding issues are likely to continue and the training may not be offered in the future.

    If you’re in another county or state, you may or may not have a MFP program. Other counties and states do training differently — check with your local Extension office to see if you have a MFP program and how to volunteer.

    And good luck! The MFP program has been such a wonderful, life-changing experience for me. Don’t hesitate to become involved.

  10. Hi Eugenia-
    Wanted to let you know I moved my blog to http://ourhomeworks.com/.
    -Amy

  11. Thanks for the link to the Eugene Friendly Neighborhood Farmer’s group!

  12. Eugenia,

    Thanks for your nice words about my blog. I was impressed by Culinaria Eugenius, and pleased to discover another blogger is interested in both Korean and Hungarian cuisine. Keep up the good work!

  13. Hi Eugenia –
    Actually not sure how I found you except that you and I live in Eugene and are both Master Food Preservers. I haven’t been involved in MFP for about 5 or 6 years and am really missing it. Hoping to come back and help out this year. My daughter-in-law and I will be at the bread-making classes next Fri/Sat and then again for the last one. Thanks for all you are doing to get people more involved in eating locally. And I love those beans!
    Sharon

  14. Raychel said:

    I’m new to your blog (and love it), so please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see any postings about eating in at Long’s Meat Market.

    If you haven’t yet tried eating there, you must! They have the most delish BBQ brisket sandwiches on delicate ciabatta rolls, potato salad, mac and cheese, and baked beans that are to die for.

    They also do a “braise of the day.” When I was last there, it was braised oxtail, which was amazingly tasty. They have all kinds of meaty treats (and beverages)…and you can get them to go or eat them at the butcher shop–which is a cultural experience in itself!

  15. Bruce, Sharon and Raychel, thanks!

    Raychel: thanks for spreading the news about Long’s take-out items. Long’s is linked to my blog as one of the only stores in Eugene you can buy local meat. I didn’t know they did a braise-of-the-day, though. I’ll check it out!

  16. As a fellow Californian (Pleasanton in the East Bay) transplanted to Eugene (for school at the U of O) and also an aspiring foodie, I stumbled across your blog and really enjoy it! Keep up the great work!!!

  17. Hello,

    Happy to have found your blog. I hope that the Buffalonians treated you well, as I was born and raised there. I, too, moved here from California. I am now proud to call Eugene “home.”

    My husband and I helped to start Eugene Local Foods (www.eugenelocalfoods.com). Check it out and let us know what you think!

    Cheers,
    Carrie

  18. Stephen Wooten said:

    awesome blog! thanks for doing it!

  19. hi eugenia, i like your blog. you tell it like it is and show it’s ok to have high standards for our local food and restaurants. we just want good quality food, good service, and a fair price.

    that said, if you haven’t check us out yet, i encourage you to. i own Field to Table, we’re a full service catering company and also have a booth at the farmer’s market on tuesdays and saturdays. we prepare food on-site and keep it local, seasonal, and organic (as much as possible). i invite you to come down for breakfast, lunch, or brunch and check out what we’re doing. you’ll dig our weekly changing chalkboard menu too. cheers!

  20. Thanks for sharing! I am trying to contact you offline…would like to connect. Please advise.

  21. Carrie: great service — what a wonderful idea. Thanks for stopping by!

    Corey: I’ve seen your delicious menus at the Saturday market. I’ll stop by and say hello next time I’m there.

    Jaculynn: There’s contact info in the last paragraph of my post if you’d like to send me an email. Cheers!

  22. Hi everyone: I’m not sure I’d like the “About This Blog” to be a free space for advertising. This isn’t a community bulletin board. I don’t mind a mention of a local business or product, especially if it is from a customer, but I’m not a big fan of drive-by marketing. If you’d like to introduce me to a product or service, please feel free to send me an email. The address is listed in the last paragraph of this post.

  23. andierempel said:

    Hi Eugenia! I love your blog! It’s a wonderful inspiration for my own blog-in-the-making (about spatial design, experience, & performance, including windsurfers as well as buildings). I’m also looking forward to your November class! And, I think it’s so cool that you have another name too. I’m in the process of changing mine, as you can see. Thanks for all the great writing & best of luck!

  24. Rodney A. Butler said:

    All I can say is, “THANK YOU!!”

  25. anisettechef said:

    Wanted to Hello. I’m a fellow Eugeneite transplant from Ca. It seems we have a mutual friend, more on that later. She said I should stop by your blog and check it out. Nice Place you got here. You are invited to Saturday brunch at One Cup Cafe @ 298 Blair Blvd. from 10 am to 2 pm. We serve a small plate ala carte menu revolving around wilds and seasons. Please come by. Be sure to introduce yourself. I promise you’ll have some fun. – Jonathon

  26. NOBRAINER said:

    I love how everyone POSTS ALL THERE GOOD STUFF–>—-what a great way to stay informed about all the good food out there!

  27. Just found you via networked blogs on facebook. Glad I found you. apple cider donuts? Oh my goodness! I’ll be back. -Cash

  28. Hi Eugenia! I just came across your blog (it was a recommended feed in my Google Reader). Looks like we have a lot in common! I’m also a food blogger living in Eugene, came from LA and was raised in the midwest. I’m glad I found another local foodie, and I’m looking forward to reading along.

  29. Hi,

    Congratulations on the ‘Best of Eugene’ mention! Very cool. It’s how I found your blog.

    Anyway, I’m a total foodie who has been transplanted to Eugene from from Portland. I have been madly searching for good nibbling spots in the area ever since my arrival, so I’m very excited to be reading your words. Please keep up the stellar work.

    If you are ever need a partner in mischief for a food adventure, please let me know. Dinner is on me.

    Thanks. Again, congrats.

    ~mink~

  30. hi Eugenia, forgive me for leaving a post but, i can not find your email address anywhere in this blog. my eyes are probably just deceiving me. could you please email me or something? i’d like to get you some info about the farm dinners at nib. and thanks for stopping by our booth a couple weeks ago and trying our vittles, sorry i missed you. take care~

  31. Hi Corey, no problem. The email address is in the last paragraph of the post (I don’t list it in a readable-to-spambot format for obvious reasons).

  32. I really enjoy your blog and the great pictures!! You seem to have a great eye for food, and I’m glad to read about a fellow foodie at the UO.

  33. Charlotte Senn said:

    Looking forward to reading your blog regularly

  34. Jennie Dornbusch said:

    I stumbled on your Blogg when doing research on Étienne Brûlé. I come from a very small Historical group in Carroll Township and was looking for information on Étienne Brûlé’s discovery of our own Toussaint River. Any thing that you share with me would be wonderful for us to have in our Old Town Hall which serves as a mini museum.

  35. I am so tickled to find your blog. I am moving to Eugene in June (from the middle of nowhere in WA state) and am so. incredibly. excited. to be back in civilization and my love fooooooooood….access to locally grown…. restaurants that don’t solely use deep fryers…spending time with others who love…

    Thanks!

    Carmen

  36. Hi Carmen, and welcome to Eugene! You’ll find plenty of deep fryers here, but the situation is getting better.

  37. Hi Eugenia,

    So happy to have found your blog. I will be relocating to Eugene within the month and will, for sure, be a frequent bloggee.

    Thank you for “culinariaeugenius”

  38. Holly Kurzhal said:

    Just wanted to say Thank You! Thank you for enjoying My husband and my pickles, Kurzhal Family Kicken’ Pickles! We are working on getting a licensed kitchen built this year and plan to keep producing and making our own pickles, this years’ garden is much bigger than last year..and hopefully we’ll keep it up for the years to come! Pickling is a great fun, and hope to pass the tradition to our kiddos.

  39. Jeff & Tina Frison said:

    We are great friends with the Kurzhal family and are HUGE fans of their pickles.. They are by far the best around! And especially the bread and butter! They also make fantastic spicy pickled asparagus! We suggest that you make it a must to try all varieties they make,I promise you wont be left with anything less than satisfied and a carving for more.

  40. Hi, I have an off the wall question for you. Last year my husband and I canned up some Oregon albacore tuna, and oh yum. I was wondering if you know of any really great fish-mongers up in the Portland area that have tuna for a good deal. I live a state away, so I have to plan ahead and have things ready for my hubby to go pick up, and pretty much no time to poke around and shop around.

  41. Hi Lanna, I’m sorry, but I don’t know fish shopping in PDX. We’re about two hours south and I don’t shop for fish up there! Why don’t you post the question on my facebook page — I’m sure someone can help.

  42. Sharon Doak said:

    Kurzhal Pickles ARE the best. Spicy, sweet (depending on what you eat). Can’t get enough of them. SOOO good. Can’t wait for them to be in our local deli’s and restaurants.

  43. Hi Eugenia,
    I just recently found your blog through the Eugene Weekly “Best Of Eugene”. Very excited to read your blog regularly. Very informative, and wonderfully written. Thanks!

  44. Very good site thank you so much for your time in writing the posts for all of us to learn about.

  45. Hello!

    Appreciate your blog immensely. Strongly encouraging you to contribute to this participatory project, particularly on the page dedicated to the Eugene Food Scene: http://eugenecoloringbookblog.com/the-eugene-oregon-coloring-book-pages/page-6-eugene-restaurantfood-scene/

    Thanks, and hope you share some stories with us soon!

  46. Found your blog through a google search for fermented green tomato relish. Will be following because I like your ‘curmudgeonly’ attitude and common sense approach to food.

  47. Mandy Shellhart said:

    Really enjoyed having you in the MFP class into day. Thank you for the 2 week Kimchi! Excited to get mine going!

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