The Clueless Eater

Ten Things

October 2, 2016

Tags: food, sustainable, Bainbridge Island, PNBA, clueless, eater, land, pie, book, Washington

Pie judging at the Harvest Fair
The launch for "The Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island" is scheduled for October 13, 7:30 pm, at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. I am very happy to be able to present the book to the general public.

Yesterday, I was able to present it to (more…)

Desperation Salad

December 17, 2015

Tags: Bainbridge Island, sustainability, climate change, sustainability, kale

It's been a long road and a long week, but I am almost finished writing my book about our relationship with food on Bainbridge Island.

I started out as The Clueless Eater, and now I am - slightly less clueless. Almost thirty people indulged me in interviews where I asked about their families, their (more…)

Decolonize Your Diet

October 19, 2015

Tags: food, sustainability, health, indigenous diets, cookbooks

Squash growing in my garden.
Luz and Catriona's story started in sorrow. Luz, who had been a vegetarian for fifteen years and considered herself very healthy, was diagnosed with breast cancer. As Luz endured surgery and follow-up treatment, Catriona struggled to find food that her partner would eat, and that would enhance healing. Their research showed that Latinas have (more…)

Utopia, or Dystopia?

September 21, 2015

Tags: food sovereignty, Nogales, NAFTA, Teresa Leal, Octavia Butler, utopia, dystopia, food, refugees

Teresa Leal, indigenous activist
"God is change." At least that is what Lauren Olamena, the main character in "The Parable of the Sower," by Octavia Butler, believes. My students are reading books about dystopias, or very imperfect worlds and societies, right now. Each of these books makes me reconsider the world we live in. It is a dystopia (more…)

Golden Summer

July 25, 2015

Tags: Sustainability, Bainbridge, The Big One, summer, local food

Golden Summer

As we feast on Copper River salmon, roasted vegetables and fresh greens from our community garden, followed by rhubarb and ice cream, I say, "We will remember this after the 9.2 earthquake takes out everything west of the Cascades. All the old people who survive will be shipped to the Midwest, where they (more…)

A Sunny Start

April 20, 2015

Tags: Spring, Port Townsend, Chimacum, Chimacum Farm Stand, starts, broccoli, lettuce, beets, Helpline House.

Visiting Port Townsend on a sunny day. Next to a sculpture by Gerard Tsutakawa.
After the gift of a beautiful sunny day yesterday, we received a second today. Too nice to waste indoors! So we drove to Port Townsend, one of my favorite places, to visit the waterfront, eat lunch, and visit the Chimacum Farmstand.

Lunch was at The Fountain, a restaurant one flight up and two streets away from Water Street, the main drag. I have been admonished by my son for taking photos of my food in public, so let me just say that the mushrooms stuffed with (more…)

Volcanic Eruption?

March 23, 2015

Tags: owls, blue herons, blue potatoes, carrots, bainbridge, garden, rock farm, Helpline House

Adding lime to the soil at the Rock Farm
No, la jefa of the Rock Farm Community Garden, Anita Rockefeller, spread lime over all of our plots, creating this eerie landscape. I happened to be there Thursday before the evening rain soaked the fine powder into the earth. The darker front rows are my plot, where I turned it in and planted a row of blue potatoes and a row of carrots. Next, we will spread a layer of compost. Supposedly, we should avoid turning the soil too much. This should encourage a build up of compost and keep carbon sequestered in the soil, where it belongs.

Spring is here after an unusually dry (more…)

Starvation Foods

March 9, 2015

Tags: Starvation, history, winter foods, white beans, kale, black tree lichen, Bainbridge, sustainable

I ate the evidence, but here are the ingredients!
Late winter and early spring are an iffy time in the northwest. We had record-breaking high temperatures for February, while much of the east coast shivered beneath a blanket of snow.

Historically, early spring has been an unpredictable time. Rather than in the dead of winter, this is when indigenous people were most likely (more…)

Mid-Winter Experiment

February 19, 2015

Tags: Bainbridge Island, cooking, farming, sustainable eating, chayote, Chihuahua, Mexican food.

I liked chayote as a child, but I had no idea how to prepare it.
While the East Coast has had a winter of discontent, we have experienced mild temperatures and even sunshine in the Northwest. Our growing season ended last fall with a whimper when freezing temperatures took out my late planting of squash in early November. I didn't think to check the garden space I rent until (more…)

Winter Again

January 8, 2015

Tags: Winter, sustainable, farming, Suquamish, Comprehensive Plan

Another winter, and those of us in the Northwest have turned inward, that pause when we clean our homes after a hectic season, and plan for the coming year.

It is very dark here in January, and I struggle to get out of bed even when the clock says it is time. Our vegetable gardens are sleeping, deep in dreams under a cover crop of clover or alfalfa, or like mine, under a layer of fresh soil I optimistically added in early November, hoping for a late fall crop. Instead, it froze early, taking out the last of my kale and some promising squash.

This year, social justice is (more…)


Selected Works

From the early literature of the Americas to the late 20th Century
Creative Nonfiction
Essays on Family and Writing

The Desert Remembers My Name makes an important contribution to discussions of ethnicity, identity, and the literature of place.”
Bloomsbury Review
"...a mesmerizing tale... the author explores the fascinating confusions and contradictions plaguing a culture precariously poised between tradition and modernization."
"She never forgot the power of storytelling as testimony."
The Utne Reader
"Kathleen Alcalá's Spirits of the Ordinary is an enthralling book..."
–Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Books

"This book entered my dreams."
–Alberto Rios
Short Fiction
"Thoroughly satisfying."
The New York Times Book Review

"By turns touching, entertaining, and surprising, and uniquely her own."
Publishers Weekly

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