December 17, 2015
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…)
October 19, 2015
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…)
September 21, 2015
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…)
July 25, 2015
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…)
April 20, 2015
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…)
March 23, 2015
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…)
March 9, 2015
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…)
February 19, 2015
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…)
January 8, 2015
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…)
November 15, 2014
An adult and an immature towhee caught in a storm
This is the time of year when our gardens produce their last fruits and vegetables. I could tell you how clever I was today for combining a pear with the last of the rhubarb to make a tart and sweet compote.
It is a time that reminds us all of our mortality, as theleaves begin to turn and fall. The berry bushes that looked as though they would take over the neighborhood have begun to retreat, close to the ground for another season. We preserve, we line our nests and contemplate the seasons when we spend more time indoors.
But this has been a time of terrible loss. A freshman in high school shot four (more…)
From the early literature of the Americas to the late 20th Century
Essays on Family and Writing
“The Desert Remembers My Name
makes an important contribution to discussions of ethnicity, identity, and the literature of place.”
"...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."
–The New York Times Book Review
"By turns touching, entertaining, and surprising, and uniquely her own."