Sweet Seaweed, Gouda Chips and Murder Beetles

A storm knocked out power in our neighborhood last night and there is no Internet service as I write this. No “school” for the kids. No “work” for the parents. Annoying that a privately owned corporation controls our access. Another reminder that the monopolies/duopolies that run these services need to be nationalized and replaced with free municipal broadband. No matter what your circumstances are you deserve a roof over your head, food, medical care and yes - Internet service. Sadly, our cruel society is designed to exploit and impoverish people, not to help them acquire the basic necessities for survival. Let’s fix that.

Hot Stuff!

Lake City Hot Meals offers free food once a week at Concrete Park in Lake City. Feed The People! is their slogan.

A recent menu offered up mushroom stroganoff, a roast beet salad with a garlic-tahini-lemon dressing and fresh-baked snickerdoodle cookies. This is not cheap crap from Costco poured into a trough - it’s high quality food. Something you’d get at a good restaurant.

Lake City Hot Meals needs money and donations, obviously.

“As a small group with a limited (if important) role to play, we've covered everything so far out of our own pockets and the occasional donation. We would love help!

The best way to help us is to connect us to people who can regularly donate food (such as farm waste reduction or produce recovery programs, as long as the food is fresh). This gives us long-term stability and helps us connect with other community members and organizations.

Our Venmo is @lakecityhotmeals and our CashApp is $lakecityhotmeals.

We will be maintaining anonymous donation and purchasing records, available on request, for transparency and accountability purposes.”

That’s it! Small groups forming to help feed food insecure people. Building connections and relationships and accepting donations of time, food, and money from the community. A mutual aid network! Food is expensive and people are going hungry on a scale not seen since the great depression and they need your help. Do this! Do this in your town! Load the back of your car with stuff and pull up to a homeless camp and give out the stuff. Set up a ghost kitchen. Get creative! Disclosure: Nirvana Wok just donated $25 to Lake City Hot Meals via Venmo.

Food banks and meal sites in King County

Less Sugar and More Weed Please

Sheets of seaweed are a favorite snack for the kids. Big Panda (from Thailand) would be pleasing but for the added sugar, which makes it cloying and icky - nobody liked it.

Seaweed is a natural glutamate/umami producer, and does not need added flavor-enhancers like disodium 5 ribonucleotides or acesulfame K, which contains the carcinogen methylene chloride and causes all sorts of health problems in humans, including cancer. Fail!

A favorite: Trader Joe’s teriyaki flavored “roasted seaweed snack” which also contains sugar. Sigh.

How farming giant seaweed can feed fish and fix the climate

Pineapple Express

We acquired a pineapple grown in Costa Rica “picked at peak and harvested by hand” which is the only way you can harvest pineapple until a robot harvesters is invented. Food marketing is so full of lies and distortions.

Not super sweet. Nothing like the taste of a pineapple after it’s been picked off the plant by a cyborg that same day.

Corporate Potato Chips Still Suck

Speaking of bullshit food marketing, it turns out Tim’s® Thins™ SMOKED GOUDA “thin & crispy” potato chips do not contain Gouda cheese. They are not awful, but a much better potato chip would be made with nothing but potatoes, oil and salt.

Tim’s Chips was a regional brand until getting swallowed up by conglomerates and private equity firms and whatnot. They were known for their thick, oily kettle (another marketing term) style chips.

Not going down the rabbit hole of American potato chip history this time other than to say consolidation has destroyed most if not all regional family-owned potato chip companies.

Tim’s gouda chips contain the awful, insipid “natural smoke flavor” plus milk, mozzarella cheese, yeast extract (fine for a naturally-produced umami flavor). Also disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate - chemicals that react with each other to produce an MSG-like umami taste. Unnecessary and probably bad.

Attack of the Killer Murder Beetles

Move over, murder hornets: There’s a new bug in town — and it’s coming for your lawn.

Seattle Times Jan. 10, 2021

An invasive beetle known as the European chafer (Amphimallon majale) is being noticed around Seattle because during rainy weather birds, especially crows, tear up people’s lawns to get to the larvae. A large percentage of the front lawns in our neighborhood look like a bird vs. grub war zone. The horror!

How you can help: Eight simple actions that individuals can take to save insects from global declines.

Bush is Still the Worst President Ever

We can be thankful that when 78-year-old Joe Biden is sworn in on the 20th George W. Bush will remain the worst president in American history … if Trump doesn’t nuke Japan (it’s happened before) or some other country in the next few days. All American presidents are by definition war criminals, but Bush is responsible for killing millions and displacing countless others. Plus the torture. And the bad paintings.

The next time I send out this newsletter we will have a new president. Thanks for subscribing.

–Alex